NonFiction ~~- The Kingdom Of YHWH

The Called-Out Ekklesia's Relation to Government and Society

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The Ekklesia [Hebrew #4744: "Miqra"] (commonly incorrectly called 'church') is a spiritual, social, and political body ("holy nation,") [1]
This Nation, the Ekklesia, gives its allegiance to YHWH alone.
We are citizens of YHWH's kingdom. [2 ]
We trust in the power of YHWH for our defense.
The Ekklesia knows no geographical boundaries and needs no violence for its protection.
The only Scripture-following nation is the Ekklesia of Yahshuah the Messiah, made up of people who were once in, but have emigrated from, every tribe and nation...

Unlike this Ekklesia, the governing authorities of the world-system, headed by Satan, are allowed by YHWH for maintaining order in the societies comprised of people who have not accepted the rule of YHWH.
Such governments and other human institutions are called to act justly and provide order. [4]
But like all such institutions, nations tend to demand total allegiance.
They themselves become idolatrous and rebellious against the will of YHWH. [5]
Even at its best, a worldly government cannot act completely according to the justice of YHWH because no nation, except the Ekklesia, confesses the Word of YHWH's rule as its foundation...

Like Daniel in Babylon and Joseph In Egypt, we cooperate to help governments maintain order.
But we do not join with worldly government or become members of other institutions of society because it is impossible to join with them without in some way violating the charity and holiness (separation) taught by the Messiah and compromising our loyalty to YHWH and His Law.
Yahshua, by his death and resurrection, has freed us from the iron grip of the powers, including all worldly governments.
Because we confess that Yahshua the Messiah has been exalted as Lord of lords, we recognize no other authority's claims over us.

(1) 1 Pet. 2:9.
(2) Phil. 3:20; Eph. 2:19.
(3) Rev. 7:9.
(4) Rom. 13:1-7.
(5) Ezek. 28; Daniel 78; Rev. 13.
(6) 1 Tim. 2:1-4.
(7) Matt. 5:13-16; Isa. 49:6.
(8) 2 Cor. 5:20.
(9) Jer. 29:7.
(10) Col. 2:15.

1. The language of the Ekklesia as "holy nation" may be unfamiliar.
Often, we have spiritualized the political language of the New Testament, forgetting that kingdom, Lord, and even the Greek word for Ekklesia (literally, "called-out assembly") are political words.
Political here refers to any structuring of group relationships.
Understanding the Ekklesia as nation makes clearer its relationship to the nations of the world.

Before the fourth century, about the time of the Roman emperor Constantine, most Christians thought of themselves as YHWH's nation, made up of both Hebrew and ex-national believers, living among the nations, yet strangers among them (1 Pet. 2:11-17; Heb. 11:13-16).
When Christianity became the state religion, the emperor came to be seen as the protector of the faith (even by violence).
Church membership was no longer voluntary, and the "church" usurped the position of the Ekklesia.
Mission efforts were primarily directed toward people outside the empire.
Even now, in places where Christianity is no longer the state religion, the government is often seen as the defender of religion, and the Ekklesia is expected to support government policies.

YHWH is Lord over all of life.
Ekklesia and worldly governments are separate and often competing structures vying for our loyalty.
We understand that wordly governments can preserve order among the Lawless...
But our "fear" belongs to YHWH alone (1 Pet. 2:17).
We try not to cause trouble for those among whom we live, but the demands of the worldly nations which surround us conflict with the demands of YHWH.
Kingdom Citizens are to "obey YHWH rather than any human authority." (Acts 5:29).

2. YHWH has one will for all people: salvation and incorporation into his nation, his people.
Worldly nations and their governments are limited in their ability to fulfill the will of YHWH because of their reliance on violence and because of their tendency to try to set themselves up in the place of YHWH.
However, a government that acts with relative justice and provides order is better than anarchy or an unjust, oppressive government.
Kingdom Citizens may often witness to the governments of their neighbors, encouraging them to act according to higher values or to standards which, while less than what YHWH expects of the Ekklesia, may bring the worldly government closer to doing the will of YHWH.
Kingdom Citizens are responsible to witness to governments ... in order to reflect YHWH's compassion for all people and to proclaim Yahshuah's lordship over all human institutions.

3. On a variety of political and social issues, individual Kingdom Citizens sometimes need guidance to help them discern how to be in (among) the world without belonging to the world (John 17:14-19).
The Ekklesia asks questions such as these:
Will participating in the economic system, or in other institutions of society enable us to be ambassadors of the Messiah's reconciliation?
Or will such participation violate our commitment to the Law of YHWH and compromise our loyalty to Him?
Followers of the Way cannot engage in worldly military service, office holding, employment, voting, taxes, using the secular courts, pledging allegiance, using flags, public and corporate schooling, or seeking to influence legislation in the nations that surround them.

Heavily edited and adapted from:
adapted from from Mennonite Article 23
For related discussion, see the Mennonite "Discipleship and the Christian Life" (Article 17), "Peace, Justice, and Nonresistance" (Article 22), and "Truth and the Avoidance of Oaths" (Article 20).

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