in a Strange Land”
by John H. Leeper
John 14: 30 – I will not speak to you much longer for the prince of this world
(Satan) is coming.
John 15: 19 – If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.
As it is, I have chosen you out of the world.
That is why the world hates you.
6:12 – For our
struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
2:11-13 – For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly
passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and Godly lives in
this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the
glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
11: 13-16 – These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having
seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,
and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they
seek a country, and, truly, if they had been mindful of that
country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity
to have returned. But
now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly (country) .
Christians mistakenly believe that they are living in backslidden
Jerusalem as described by the Old Testament prophets.
Thus, if there is only “national repentance,” God will
again bless their nation
and give them prosperity. But
the Bible is clear that Christians are captives in Babylon — a
foreign and hostile country influenced by supernatural powers of
great spiritual darkness. They
are pilgrims whose country is yet to come.
Thus, they should eagerly await the return of Jesus Christ
who will set them free from this present bondage.
The political and economic systems and institutions of this
world, including those of the United States of America, are
predominately under the influence of Satan, “the prince of this
world,” not Christ.
“Captives in a Strange Land”
the same evangelical pulpits, often on the same
Sunday, two views of Christian existence are expressed that are
absolute contradictions of one another.
The service might open with a prayer that says something to
the effect: “Let us pray that our nation, like the prodigal son,
will repent of its gross sin and return to the faith of our
forefathers before God’s righteous judgement falls upon our
land.” This is the
voice of the prophet Jeremiah crying to citizens of a backslidden
Jerusalem, “Repent or face God’s wrath – exile in a foreign
Immediately, this is followed by a hymn that laments, “I
am a poor wayfaring stranger, traveling through this world of woe
. . . .” This is
the voice of Ezekiel speaking to the exiles in Babylon: “Great
Deliverer, come quickly and release us from this present
Are we citizens of a
backslidden Jerusalem or captives in pagan Babylon?
A Christian can be one or the other but not both at the
same time. Anyone
should be able to grasp the profound implications of that
question. The first
view implies that evangelicals (i.e., the true believers) are
living in a Holy Nation – a society composed largely of the
children of God. However,
the children have been led astray by pagan idolaters in their
midst and by vain self-interest.
To avoid punishment, the Holy Nation must collectively
repent of its sins and return to the faith that it originally
held. The second view
is of a people held prisoner in a hostile, pagan world, surrounded
by the enemies of God. While in bondage, they must hold
tenaciously to their faith and exhibit prudence and caution in
dealing with their heathen overlords for the good of their
families and the sake of other believers,
In simple terms, they must be “...wise
as a serpent, and harmless as a dove.“
They must expect
and tolerate oppression and await their freedom with patience and
endurance — the return of Jesus Christ to release them from this
These two positions are as far removed from one another as
night and day; however, the inability of Christians in America to
grasp the fundamental differences between these points of view has
led to “theological schizophrenia.”
While this question is seldom discussed by evangelicals in
the United States, the fact is that a large segment of the
fundamental Christian movement in America has come to the
conclusion that the former, not the latter, is correct.
Evangelical churches have stepped away
from spiritual solutions for issues and events and moved towards
political solutions of them.
The message of Christ’s universal love for all nations
and peoples is drowned by strident cries from pulpits across
America for the political leadership of this nation-state to
recognize the principles of Christianity as the basis of the
United States government.
However, in order to “put God back” in American culture
and politics, it must first be assumed He was there in the first
place. There is an
assumption among this sect of the Christian church that Jesus
Christ – not Allah, or Buddha, or Socrates, or Voltaire – was
at the root of the American system of government.
Because, if the words of Christ did not shape America then
the Christian cry would necessarily be “Try Jesus!
He is wiser than the men and women who built this
Sadly, many false teachers within the Church espouse the
notion that American society is coming apart at the seams because
Jesus Christ has been “dismissed” by corrupt leaders of political or
social institutions. They
preach a false message: “Bring Jesus back from exile!”
The Biblical message, however, is that this world,
including the United States of America, does not belong to
Christians. It is ruled by spiritual powers of darkness who set about to
deceive even the elect. There
are no “Christian nations” in this world, and there will never
be until our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ comes again in power.
Thus we pray: “Return, O Lord, and set your people
As the old hymn reads: “This world is not my home, I’m
just-a passing through.”