"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VIII No.I Pg.66-68
June 1945

XII. What Nations Are Ordained Of God

T. B. Wilkinson

In a certain Dallas paper of June 22nd issue I find an exchange between a Brother Ross Weeks, of Texas, and the Query Editor of the paper which made me wonder why men do not think a little before they write so much. All I see wrong in Brother Weeks' observations is that he does not seem to understand what the word carnal means, and the Editor has not helped him any. The word carnal simply a means fleshly, or that which pertains to the fleshly man, and it may be sinful, or not sinful, according to the use man makes of it. All of our appetites are carnal appetites, hunger, thirst, but they are not sinful, unless abused. Every thing we do which pertains to the fleshly man is carnal, farming, carpentering, banking, are carnal occupations, and belong to fleshly man.

While man is in the flesh he is compelled to look after fleshly needs, and there is nothing sinful about it, although these are carnal things. We serve God with our body as well as with our spirit, or we don't serve Him at all, but we are told to keep the body under, and bring it into subjection to the will of God, and not let fleshly appetites dominate and rule our lives. Any use of the sword, or the hoe, or the ax, or saw and hammer, belongs to the carnal man, and a war of defense is just as much a carnal war as is a war of offense, the difference being that the war of offense is inspired by Satan, and is therefore sinful, while a war of defense is one ordained of God to execute wrath upon evildoers, and therefore cannot be sinful without making God a party to the sin. The carnal man is the fleshly man, the body, and it was created by God, and he called it good and very good. When it yields to Satans temptations it is bad just to the extent it yields, and the service it renders him is sinful, but the service it renders God is not sinful.

What powers are ordained of God? The only powers Paul had in mind when he said "the powers that be are ordained of God" were the civil powers, one of them being the Roman government, and the spiritual powers, or the church. Satan has access to both, and can corrupt them, and he has been very successful in bringing sin, and offensive features into both. The evil that Satan brings into either through power to deceive and mislead belongs to Satan, and in some churches, and some civil governments, like the governments of Japan and Germany, the devil has complete control over the governments God ordained for the people. But the people can put that evil out, just as they helped the devil to put them in, and the Lord expects them to do it, and will hold them responsible if they fail.

The only way God can put evil out of the church is through man as His agent, He operates through human instrumentality, both in the church and in the civil government. He committed the gospel to earthen vessels, that means carnal vessels, or men, and told them to go preach it to every creature. The entire responsibility is upon man in the civil government and in the church, and if man will keep the devil out of both, and man only can do it, they will be all the Lord ordained for them to be, and will serve the ends of righteousness.

The Lord ordained the devil, said this Editor, for the work he is doing, and then sought to cover up this blunder by adding that He ordained hell to receive the damned. Hell was ordained of God to receive the devil and his angels, just as our government has provided jails for its criminals, but our government did not ordain the crimes they commit, they are responsible for them. God did not create any devil, if He did then the devil is good and very good, and that which is good should be accepted with thanksgiving. God created the being called the devil, but he made himself a devil through disobedience, and rebellion. The word, devil, means a calumniator, traducer, false accuser, while the word, Satan, means adversary, or enemy. So while God created the being who became the devil through rebellion, he did not create him a devil, or Satan, he made himself a devil. God did not create man an evil being, he was good and very good, but man made himself evil.

Yes, the Roman government under which Paul lived, the benefits of which he claimed for himself because he was a free born Roman citizen, was a very bad government in many respects, but Satan, and man as his willing tools, were responsible for all the evil in it. But it was the only government they had, and it was the one Paul taught them to be in subjection to, and it had stabilized society, and maintained law and order, and had prepared a soil into which gospel seed could be sown, and bad as it was, just imagine if you can how much worse the world would have been without any civil government at all.

The powers which be, and which were ordained of God, and which Paul told the Roman Christians to be in subjection to, we can be sure did not include the devil as this Editor argues. Whatever those powers were which he said were ordained of God, he commanded the Christians to not resist them, and told them if they did they would receive to themselves damnation. The Editor says the devil was one of those powers, therefore we are not to resist the devil for if we do we will receive to ourselves damnation. But we are taught also to resist the devil, and if we don't resist him we will be damned, and now this Editor has proved we will be damned whatever we do about it. We will be damned if we do, and be damned if we don't.

The Editor says we should remember that civil government came into being because man wanted it; God permitted them. I suppose he must be referring to Israel when they demanded a king like the nations around them, I can see nothing else he could have in mind. But man had civil government thousands of years before that event happened, and Israel had civil government before they had a king. They had civil government from the very day they became a nation, but they did not have a king. We have no king in our civil government now, we have a different form of civil government. They had a form of civil government approved by the Lord under the Judges, and the Judges were more responsive to the will of God than a king would be. If a judge became corrupt it was an easy matter to replace him with a better Judge to administer their civil affairs, and the Lord knew the kings would become corrupt.

Man wanted civil government, and the Lord permitted it. The Lord was merely passive in the matter. He just permitted man, under the guiding hand of a benevolent devil, to organize civil governments. All of that stuff about the Lord "ordaining them" is just mere piffle Paul worked off on these brethren in Rome, they were not ordained of the Lord, he just permitted man to have them and the devil to run them. But the devil is nice to the Lord in one way, when the Lord wants to use one as His minister, he just borrows one from the devil, as avengers of wrath upon him that doeth evil, for which we should thank the devil, I suppose.

The Editor can see no difference between using the sword offensively, and defensively, it is all carnal and is of the devil. We are just as guilty in this war as Germany and Japan, and just as sure for hell if we raise a sword in defense of our lives and property as they are for using it to murder our people, and rob us of our goods. I freely grant that the devil raised this war, he inspired both Germany and Japan to make this unprovoked attack upon civilization, but I deny that the devil raised up a sword among the United Nations to resist this aggression, he is not that big a fool.

The sword we are using in this war is the one God ordained, the avenging sword of God against him that doeth evil. It is as much the sword of God today as it was in the days of Joshua and Gideon when it is used for the same purpose, to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. One thing I cannot understand, if Satan is running both sides of this war is why he is letting his arch ministers who started it for him get such a beating from the allied armies. Does not the old fool know that this will have a bad effect on future wars he will want to raise if he lets Germany and Japan reap nothing but a whirlwind from it? Had he let them have a complete victory the next war would have been a cinch, but it looks now like he is defeating his own purpose in allowing the allied armies to win the war.

Another thing I cannot understand, and that is that if Satan is the author of civil government why he ever let so many wholesome laws get into our statute books. These laws are very severe on crime and criminals, and their entire effect is to discourage crime, which is what Satan wants, and encourage righteousness, which is the one thing he does not want. Does the devil want the people to be good, and threaten them with severe punishments when they do evil? We have our laws against murder, theft, robbery, adultery, perjury, and every other form of evil, and they have a powerful effect in keeping men from committing them.

Now since Satan delights in such crimes, and wants them increased, and not diminished, why did he pass these laws against them? Does not the old fool see that in passing such laws he is defeating his own purpose and helping the cause of righteousness? The Lord had nothing to do with passing these laws, and putting them on the statute books, neither did the Lord's people, they are too pure according to this Editor to meddle in such unclean things as civil government.

In this country, and in some others I know about, the evil has done a fair job in giving us wholesome laws which does great good in keeping down crime, promoting righteousness. Looking over our statute books I would conclude that if the devil wrote the laws he is not such a bad fellow after all, maybe some one has lied on him, and he is not the enemy of righteousness he has been pictured. And the way he is turning this war in our favor, if he is doing it, and he is if he is running both sides of it, then he must not be such a bad fellow. Of course, he gave us a drubbing at the start when we were unprepared for the armies he sent against us, but he evened it up in the end, and we should thank him for the favor. Even if the Lord is giving us the victory, but had to borrow soldiers from the devil to do it, we have the devil to thank for lending the Lord such good soldiers.

I read in a certain paper today where a staff Editor is trying to answer a close question some brother had asked him, and he told this brother that God, permitted civil government, and they came into existence because man wanted them, and God only uses them as ministers of wrath, making one evil government punish another. Paul said God, ordained them, and they are ministers to thee for good, but this Editor could not see that.

Neither can he see the use God is making of them to keep down crime within the civil government. He can only see them when God uses them to punish some other wicked nation, as He sometimes does. But the important work of civil government is to preserve law and order within itself, but the Editor is blind to that work, and he thinks the devil ordained them, and the Lord only permitted them. He thinks they belong to Satan by creation instead of by corruption, and the Lord only borrows them from Satan on special occasions when He happens to need them. Civil government is of the Lord, not of the devil, as this Editor argues.

In this country at least, and in some others that I know about, the devil has done a mighty good job in giving us a set of wholesome laws which goes far towards discouraging crime, and promoting the cause of righteousness. Looking over the laws on our statute books I would conclude that the devil is not such a bad fellow after all if he is responsible for them. In fact I dont see where I could improve on there much if I had written them myself.

Then about this horrible war, I can agree with the Editor that the devil started it, and inspired Hitler and the Japs to attack us, and he wanted it that way. But what I can't understand is why then he turned around and went to Russia, England, and the United States, and had them defeat his ministers, which they are surely doing, and giving them a drubbing which will discourage them from ever wanting to begin another such war. Does he not know that this will have a bad effect on future wars he will want to start. Had he let them win their war, it might not have been so bad, but now it looks like he is defeating himself.

I would not be so foolish as to argue that any civil government is all the Lord wants it to be, man is an essential element in all of them, and man is never perfect. But neither is the church perfect, and some of them are so bad the Lord simply spews them out of His mouth. Nevertheless the Lord ordained the church, and it is perfect for the thing He ordained. But Satan has access to it, and he can corrupt it, and often he is very successful, varying from slight deflections from the truth to total apostasy from the faith.

Such churches belong to the devil, but he got them not by creation, but by corrupting the churches the Lord ordained. That is how he captured the civil governments, by corrupting them. Satan worms his way into the churches, and into civil governments, and corrupts them, and then claims them as his. All that the Lord ordained, or did in either, is good, but all that Satan puts into them is evil, and the Lord expects us to root this evil out of both. That is the only way the Lord can do it is through His people as His agents.

The church can only grow and prosper where it has the support of a strong civil government to keep down crime and encourage righteousness. The better the civil government, the better for the church, I wonder who will deny this fact. In the second century the church grew rapidly because five good Emperors followed each other in succession, Nerva, Tragan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. Also, it grew rapidly after Constantine took the throne, and Theodosius, who is called the Great, and it became almost universal in the Empire. Then men began to meddle with it, and sought to make the church take the place of the civil government, and all they did was to bring about the great apostasy. Jesus found a place for both, so did Paul, and they will no more mix than will oil and water. Each kept in its own proper place and both are fine for man, but combined and mixed they are unfit for God or men, but may serve the purpose of Satan very well.