We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

2 Chronicles 7:14 is NOT for the Christian

I have re-written this article to include better explanations which were needed in the comment section. Perhaps these clarifications will answer many of my critics.

This morning I received another one of those e-mails misusing 2 Chronicles 7:14, with the claim that if we all humble ourselves, pray, repent and turn God, He will heal our nation. Well, it sounds good and makes everyone feel good to pass this on, but is it true? Let’s look at the actual passage in the New King James Version:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves , and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Okay, let’s examine this passage and see if there is any application at all to the USA and our current national problems.

Chapter 7 is about the dedication of the new temple Solomon had built in Jerusalem. But, it follows chapter 6, which includes a lengthy prayer by Solomon beseeching God to hear the nation when they sin if they turn back to God and repent. After all the ceremony, which took place over several days, God appeared to Solomon at night (7:12) and responded to his prayer. Now, let’s look again at our passage in context, starting at verse 13:

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

First and foremost, verse 14 is predicated on verse 13 (which itself is a response to Solomon’s prayer). WHEN God brings a curse/discipline on Israel, IF Israel repents, etc, THEN God will bring back the blessings. This is a promise to fulfill the prayer request of Solomon.

So, the promise of vs. 14 will be God’s action when Israel properly responds to God’s discipline. Now, an important thing to remember is that, from the beginning of the Mosaic covenant with Israel, there was a condition of obedience in order to be blessed. We can see this condition in passages such as Leviticus 26:3-46 where God gives an “if, then” promise: IF Israel is careful to obey God’s commands, THEN God will give them physical blessings. In Deuteronomy chapters 28-30 we find that if Israel obeys God, their blessings will include children, crops, increased livestock, peace in the land, prosperity, and establishment as God’s holy people. In those same chapters we learn that if Israel disobeyed God’s commands, then God would bring discipline - curses - upon them, which would result in a lack of children, poor crops, enemies triumphing over them, poverty, and they would be scattered.

So let’s look at vs 14 with a couple annotations by me: If My people [Israel] who are called by My name will humble themselves , and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land [in accordance with My covenant promises].

We know that the Old Testament is indeed for our instruction (Romans 15:4), but not every promise in it applies to the Christian; many were directed to specific individuals and incidents. Yes, Christians are now God’s people (and Israel also still is), and as a general rule, we know that God blesses those who obey him and disciplines those who disobey. But the promise of 2 Chronicles was a specific promise to a specific nation based on a specific covenant and in response to a specific prayer. Christians can not claim any part of this promise.

The promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is based on the covenant between God and Israel; it is not based on God and any other nation or people. When the passage talks about God’s people, it is not about anyone but Israel. The USA has never been God’s people; only the nation of Israel has borne that title. Christians are indeed God’s people, but not as a nation. The promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is NOT for Christians.

Christian men and women, please use discernment and quit using this passage for political purposes. This passage is not about America and God has given no such promises to us no matter how much Christians would like to think so.

39 comments:

Marie said...

Leave it to you to pick a good one, Glenn! It's passages like this where I get confused (over the whole covenant theology vs. dispensationalism thing). We know OT Israel was the only true theocracy - so as a civic-type promise, I think both sides would agree it doesn't have direct political application.

But what about this....if God only has "one people" (believers), the olive tree into which we Gentile believers were grafted, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever, AND God's blessing on our lives is conditional upon our obedience, wouldn't this promise have some sort of application to the Christian? At least on a personal or symbolic level?

Years ago, I was taught that 'every promise made to Israel in the OT has application to the NT Christian." Obviously, that is not true, but things are not so simple as neatly dividing stuff up into civic law, moral law, and ritual/purity law. And, as you know, studying nouthetic counseling literature (exclusively the domain of the Reformed), dispensationalism is regarded as wrong and redneck. So what are we to do with these verses, given that God does not have two separate peoples (salvation is only through faith in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile)?

Since you know a lot of stuff, maybe you could do a post on that question....covenant theology for dummies?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Marie,

Well, we can make all sorts of analogies and applications from just about anything in the Bible, but we can't claim all promises made by God to other people as being for the Christian.

The context of 2 Chron. 7:14 is about Israel - they were "God's people" at the time, since no Christians yet existed. And the context is also about the nation of Israel - not individual people. As noted, this promise by God was no more than reiteration of the covenant promises already made with the "if/then" condition.

Another thing to think about is that throughout Scripture we find that God's blessings to individuals is always conditional on their obedience to Him. No, I can't think of any passages off the top of my head, but in this way 2 Chron. 7:14 can be an analogy for individuals - but not as a promise to "heal" the USA.

The problem with this is that Christians, especially since the election of Obama and the takeover of Congress by Demokrats, are teaching it as a promise of God to the USA. There is no way this can be applied in this manner. The nation of the USA was never called "God's people." There has never been a nation except Israel who has been called that.

I think the big problem is that we have things like "covenant theology" and "dispensational theology." Everyone wants to put their own ideas into the Scripture and so many theological systems want to totally do away with Israel as God's chosen people with promises that were never revoked. The fact that Christians have been grafted in to "spiritual Israel" doesn't negate the fact that a national Israel is a separate entity chosen for service and given promises that have yet to be fulfilled.

Unfortunately, Reformed teaching (where do they get off making the claim to being THE teaching of the Reformation?) has the corner on the Nouthetic Counseling market essentially because Jay Adams started the whole thing. And this leads to replacement theology, which Calvin just drug along from the Roman church. Another one of those things Calvinists have wrong :oD

And yes, salvation is still by faith in the Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile.

I don't even want to get into the discussion about covenant theology on my blog - that would be very time consuming with all the comments it would bring.

Marie said...

Thanks Glenn! Yeah, I can see where a discussion of covenant theology would get very intense - there is a real resurgence of uber-Calvinistic teaching, especially on the internet. At some point, I'd really like to dig in and study it more, so I can understand exactly why the Reformed hold a "dim view" of dispensationalists. It's only in the last couple of years that I've realized there's a tension between the two "camps" (or even that there are different camps.)

Yes, applying that passage politically to the US is a HUGE stretch. Magor eisogesis. True - the Mosaic covenant was in view there; important point of context.

I've heard preachers use this passage, but more stressing on the if My people will humbly pray" part than the covenant promises. There is no way any nation could be seen as "God's people" - only the invisible Church. No commentator would read that meaning into the passage...but then again, people don't read commentaries anymore.

timothymatters said...

Another Dispy strikes again. We are God's people if we are in Christ, the True Israel. All the promises made are Yes and Amen in Christ. The people of God are those who are in Him, regardless of genealogy.
Blessings

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Sorry Timothy, but you are in error. Read the context of the passage and my explanation again. The issue was the land of Israel - the nation of Israel. Physical Israel. Christians are not physical Israel, nor is the USA the nation Israel. Again, the passage is based on the Mosaic Covenant and the "if/then" conditions. Christians are not part of that covenant - period. I can't demonstrate it any plainer.

timothymatters said...

What you are saying is that this passage is NOT for the Christian. I'm saying that this is not true in the least. Yes, I recognize the reality that God is no longer working in physical Israel, but He is still working through HIS people, who are Christians.

The Gospel is for the entire world, but the covenants made in the OT still have promises and effects for the Christian, because we are His people. Now, I will admit that God may or may not heal our land, present day US, but there are still benefits to be had from this promise that is given. If His people, which happen to be believers, will humble themselves, healing would follow. Land maybe, but more than like spiritual healing and perhaps even a furtherance of the gospel.

To say that this passage is NOT for the Christian is like saying the OT is NOT for the Christian, another Dispy mistake.

It's all for the Christian, Genesis to Revelation.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Timothy,
Your condescending “dipsy” term is about to get your comments banished.

The passage in context has one application and one application only. God was speaking to Solomon about the nation Israel and not anyone else. God was reiterating the conditional covenant. In that context His people were the nation of Israel - not Christians over 1000 years later. You can’t just take any passage in the Scripture and make it apply to what ever you want.

The OT is for the Christian in many ways, first and foremost for our learning. But not every promise in the OT, or even in the NT, is for anyone else. Specific promises to specific people are not to be captured and claimed for all Christians. God made promises to David about heirs to his throne - will you claim that promise is for Christians - will we have heirs to David’s throne? Of course not.

The promise of 2 Chron. 7:14 was specifically and only for Israel. That is the context, period.

Drew said...

I can't tell which specific part you're disagreeing with. Are you disagreeing that God blesses obedient nations, or that he forgives repentant nations? Even if you embrace dispensationalist theology, both of these basic ideas are conveyed elsewhere and explicitly applied to other nations:

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. (Proverbs 14:34)

Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure. (Proverbs 20:28)

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)

Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name. (Psalm 79:6)

Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches man lack knowledge? (Psalm 94:10)

When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue. (Proverbs 28:2 ESV).

For he is God's servant to do you good. . . . (Romans 13:4)

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. . . . [Jonah] prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. . . . But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?" (Jonah 3:10-4:12)

Obviously, promises like the one you referenced tend to provide an important reason for Christians to involve themselves in conservative politics. For that reason, I think your abandonment of the doctrine could be harmful.

And as a sidenote, I don't see any direct connection between covenant theology and either Calvinism or Catholicism. I think it's basically a historical accident that Calvinists tend to be the main proponents of it right now. And I wouldn't consider Catholic theology very close at all to covenant theology.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Drew,

The part I’m disagreeing with is the use of this passage to prove that if Christians would just repent, pray, humble themselves and seek God, that He will heal our nation. Does anyone look at context anymore?!

This passage is God speaking to Solomon in response to the completion of the new temple. Notice how everyone conveniently overlooks the first part, vs. 13: “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,” THEN VERSE 14, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Notice vs.13 presupposes the action of God against Israel for disobedience, in accordance with the “if/then” conditional Mosaic covenant. It is about God taking action against disobedient Israel, and IF they repent of their wicked ways God will bring back his blessings.

There is no way for this passage to ever possibly apply to any other nation. It is not about individual people, it is about a nation - the nation of Israel. No other nation is “My people.” This whole passage is about a national covenantal promise.

Prov. 14:34 is a general statement, which could actually apply to individuals, not just nations. But there is not promise of blessing from God in this passage. This is true of the other Prov. passages cited. General statements which are normally true.

The Psalm passages cited do not give promises of blessing for obedience - again they are general statements of God’s actions towards mankind.

I have no idea why you cited Rom. 13:4 - that just says God is who put governments over us.

Jonah is again about a specific incident, an “if/then” scenario about a specific city which cannot be applied as a general promise for all cities for all time.

We know from Scripture that as a general rule God blesses those who seek him and obey him. But to say 2 Chron. 7:14 is a promise for all nations stretches the text beyond all semblance of meaning. Can you imagine telling the Christians in Somalia that if they would just humble themselves, etc, God would heal their land? God has made no such promise to anyone but Israel, and the promise was in response to an action God caused to start with! There is never any Scriptural promise that God won’t just let man in his evil desires ruin his nations. God’s people may suffer along with the unbelievers because that’s what sin does to the world.

Does this mean Christians should not try to effect political change? Absolutely not! Especially in this country where supposedly the citizenry IS the government. But the idea that every promise of God in the OT is for the Christian is not a biblical concept. God promised Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars - does that mean every Christian will have that many descendants? Ridiculous, yes, but that is where this teaching leads. The Christian church is not Israel, nor did it replace Israel as Rome and others who teach replacement theology claim. While Christians are grafted into Spiritual Israel, the nation of Israel still is a separate entity and always has been, always will be.

Contrary to your claim, Calvinism indeed has a direct connection to covenant theology. In fact, Wikipedia states this: “Within historical Reformed Christian systems of thought, covenant theology is not merely treated as a point of doctrine, neither is it treated as a central dogma. Rather, Covenant is viewed as the structure by which the biblical text organizes itself....Covenant theology is a prominent feature in Protestant theology, especially in churches holding a Calvinist view of theology such as the Reformed churches and Presbyterian churches, Reformed Baptist churches, and, in different forms, some Methodist churches.” Calvinist just carried this over from Rome. Rome has taught that the church replaced Israel for over 1000 years.

So how can it be harmful to abandon Scripture-twisting?

Drew said...

I think I understand your main objection to the email now. I do agree that God will not necessarily heal a country if only CHRISTIANS humble themselves and pray -- which may have been the way your emailer falsely extrapolated from 2 Chronicles 7:14. However, God will heal a land if the overall country as a collective repents. That's the way I've traditionally heard that verse used, and I agree with that interpretation.

Proverbs 14:34 explicitly mentions the words "nation" and "people," and I'm not sure why you would apply it to individuals. The only verse I cited that could apply to a regular individual (as opposed to a country or a ruler) was Proverbs 28:13. I guess maybe I should have left that one off for clarity, but the story of Jonah shows it being applied to a gentile nation.

I cited Romans 13 because it shows the purpose of government. Government exists to serve God and accomplish good. When it stops performing that function, I don't expect God to let it endure for long.

Overall, general statements from the Bible (listed above) as well as biblical examples (such as Ninevah, Canaan, Sodom, Edom, Babylon) show that God judges Gentile nations and not just Israel. He just generally held Israel to a higher standard (as stated in Romans 2:12).

As a practical application of this doctrine, God will not necessarily heal Somalia if only the Christians pray. However, he will almost certainly heal Somalia (which absolutely needs healing) if the country stops persecuting Christians and embraces righteousness. As another application, I doubt that America can last a great deal longer if we continue to tolerate abortion.

timothymatters said...

OK, I apologize for the "Dispy" comment. As an ex-dispy, I tend to be a bit more sensitive to the arguments I heard in that system.

Again... the emphasis is on "My people." We are His people, called by His name. Can He shut up the skies of a nation until His people pray, thereby manifesting His goodness among His people and those who are not His?

Are we no longer in need of national repentance?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Drew,

You stated, “However, God will heal a land if the overall country as a collective repents.”
The problem is that we do not KNOW this. God may or may not do so. He has made no such promise to anyone but Israel. When God makes a promise He is bound by it. Since no other nation has this promise, there is no guarantee God will bless them. If a whole nation turns to God and repents, I think the likelihood is indeed great that God will bless them, and the principle is established, I think, in Scripture. But they have no promise of such.

My point about the Proverbs is that they are general principles, not promises. 14:34, as a principle, can apply to individuals as well as nations. Righteousness exalts people as well as nations, and sin is a reproach to individuals as well as to nations. The same point is with the remaining Proverbs you cited.

Jonah, again, is a specific case and can not be held as a precedent for all time. God make a specific choice to bless Nineveh if they responded to the prophet He sent them and turned to God. Again, this was a specific promise to a specific people IF they responded to the prophet’s message. God has not sent any prophet to the USA with this message, nor, to my knowledge, has God done the same for any other nation today.

Whether or not God judges other nations isn’t the point. The point is that the 2 Chron. passage is taken out of context when claimed by Christians for application to the USA. That passage has no other application to any other nation.

Read my revision of the article and see if that explains things better for you.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Timothy,

Christians ARE NOT the "My people" of this passage. It does not apply to Christians.

Read my revision I just posted and perhaps this will explain it better to you.

timothymatters said...

Glenn,
Again, this is where we disagree. Yes Christians are the people of the passage because of who WE are in Christ. This is where we differ in our understanding theology, dispensationalism versus Reformed Theology. We do not see two peoples of God, but one (Ephesians 2:19-22). All the promises made to the people of the OT are fulfilled in Christ and made to us as well.

If I take your hermenutic and apply it to the Day of Pentecost in Acts, I can come about and say that those promises made on that day, are not to us either, but only to those who were there on that day, the Jews alone.

But we must come back to Christ, who is true Israel, and therefore, all those in Him, are true Israel. The unbelieving Jew is no more of true Israel than the man of Islam. Hosea 11:1 shows us Christ is true Israel. He is the One called out of Egypt. The people coming out of Egypt, if they believed, were true Israel, but the fulfillment of this reality takes place in Christ (Matthew 2:15). Those who came out in the Exodus were in rebellion and not His people, see Hebrews 3-6.

Again, since He is True Israel, those who believe in Him are true Israel, and the promises of the OT apply to all who believe. Did the promise given in 2 Chron. 7:14 have a context of specific application? Yes, it did. But it also has a promise for all those who follow afterwards.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Timothy,

I don’t think you are paying attention. Solomon prayed for the nation of Israel - not for Christians - and in response to Solomon’s prayer, and in accordance with the “if, then” promise of the Mosaic covenant, a promise made to a NATION (Christians are not a nation), God gave Solomon a promise about ISRAEL.

You arguments are red-herrings which have nothing to do with the application of the passage. There is no biblical basis for you to claim a promise made to the nation of Israel is therefore applicable to Christians. Christians are not a nation, they are a people among nations. The nation of Israel was scattered among other nations because of their rejection of God. God has brought the Jews back to Israel, and the promises to that NATION are still applicable to that NATION. If the people of Israel as a nation were go do as God stated in this promise, in accordance with the Mosaic covenant, then God would heal THEIR land because that is what the promise is about. The nation of Israel is still God’s people, even though they reject God. This does not mean they are saved, but God chose Israel for service and not salvation.

Salvation is only in Christ, which makes us all Spiritual Israel. Spiritual Israel does not have land promises.

timothymatters said...

Glenn,
Heavy Sigh. We do have land promises. We have earth and heaven promises. The blessings of Israel are increased beyond the borders to the entire earth.

the meek shall inherit... the earth. So we do, at one level, have land promises.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Timothy,

Heavier sigh.

You are comparing apples with oranges. There is no justification for any Christian using this passage in order to claim that if Christians just humble themselves, pray, repent, etc, that God will heal the USA. The promise of this passage has one interpretation only - a promise by God to Israel based on a prayer by Solomon, which itself was based on the "if/then" conditional promises of the Mosaic Covenant.

Any Christian using this passage for the USA is practicing eisegesis.

PATRIOT2010 said...

I feel that too often the true message is not understood; you can center on the exact literal context, but you must realize the Bible is a teaching doctrine. We can get caught up on specifics and miss the true point of what the Lord is trying to imply. True, as a nation we are not to be compared to Israel, but don't you feel that this country was founded on Christian principals and as a country it is obvious that we have been blessed. So even if this scripture doesn't directly apply to the U.S., wouldn't God in a way have expectations of us? And aren't our blessings based on our actions? If we continue to basically deny Christ, aren't we asking as a country to be cursed? I think we can use this as a learning scripture for the Lord is consistent in His actions. The are specifics in the Bible, but I don't see this verse as being only used for this singular purpose. This idea limits God in His teachings to all of His people. Our country used to be a Chrsitian country, this we can't ignore. And as a nation if we would return to this identity, why would God not approve of this and thus provide the same benefits. God would not treat similar conditions differently, why would he? God has expectations of all men, and his grace to Christians lifts us up above the "Israel" in a special way. I feel that the Lord is consistent in His blessings,for if he isn't, then how is our faith rewarded?

timothymatters said...

Glenn,
With that hermeneutic, you might as well toss out the OT.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Patriot,

I wondered if I'd hear from you on this :oD

The “true message” of the Scripture is that which the author intended, plus any prophetic application implied or later stated by another writer of a biblical book. Yes, the Bible is for our learning and teaches a lot, but it is also meant to be taken literal in the historical genre. This passage has one, literal historical meaning and application. When we start adding to what we think the Bible should say, or what we think it means, then we move into the realm of the cults. Too often people want to spiritualize passages of Scripture to make it say what they want it to say, regardless of the intent of the writer or of the Holy Spirit. An excellent example is the Song of Songs, which the Romanist church spiritualized as to being an analogy of Christ and the Church, and many protestants just took that teaching along with them. In reality, it is a very sensual love story about a husband and his new bride. Spiritualizing sexual thoughts of the Song to make it about Jesus and the church ends up with some weird associations.

The USA was indeed founded on Christian principles, but it was never, ever God’s chosen nation; at least there is no evidence of such, since God has never made a covenant with us. And yes, as demonstrated by Scripture, God blesses nations who follow him and curses those who do not. That isn’t the issue. This point is, this passage has only one application. It means one thing only, and to take it to apply to the USA and Christians is to wrench it out of context. It is a promise made to Israel and no other nation. You cannot take a promise God made to somebody and then claim the promise is for everybody. God promised Abraham descendents as numerous as the stars; can we apply that to everyone? God promised David that his descendent would be the Messiah; can we apply that promise to anyone else? God has promised many things like that to many people in the Bible, but not one of them can be applied to anyone else.

The OT has which does apply to us, and it is also for our education (Rom. 15:4) as to how God works with His creation. We can learn many principles from it. But we cant take a promise given to someone and say it is for us too unless the text specifically gives that application.

NOW, what we can do is use this passage among other to establish the principle that God demonstrates that when people or nations obey Him they will normally be blessed, but if they disobey him they will be disciplined. A passage that demonstrates this on a personal level would be Hebrews 12.

Using 2 Chronicles 7:14 as an example of how God works with His people as well as unbelievers is right and proper, but to take it as a promise to Christians in the USA is reading into the text and misusing it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Timothy,

With your sort of hermeneutic, we might just as well accept everything the cults and other false teachers say. Let's just make everything say what will make us feel good.

Ron Livesay said...

It is interesting that when one says "2 Chronicles 7:14 is not for Christians," there will always be those quick to remind us that we cannot do away with the Old Testament (which of course we have no desire to do). We hear them quote the old song, as if it is somehow Scripture:

"Every promise in the Book is mine!
Every chapter, every verse, every line.
I am standing on His Word divine,
Every promise in the Book is mine!"

The truth is that not every promise in the Book is mine. Some promises were made to Abraham, some to David, some to the Nation of Israel, etc. As we see God make and keep His promises, we learn a great deal about the faithfulness of God, even though He did not give us what He promised to others.

Even though not all of the Old Testament was written directly TO us in the sense of the promises being made directly to us, it was written FOR us. We learn a great deal about the nature of God, and we see that His principles do not change.

"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4, NASB).

Israel is not the Church, and the Church is not Israel, but God's program carries on in spite of the fact than some try to intermingle two specific parts of His plan - God's chosen earthly people, and God's chosen heavenly people.

PATRIOT2010 said...

I am not one to say that this specific verse applies directly to us, however, what I do say is that we can use it as an example of God'e expectations and blessings. Surely God would not turn his head away, based on the character and the nature of the Lord, if indeed our country decides to return our priorities to live in accordance with how scripture expects us to live our lives. If we truly put God foremost in our lives, He will not forsake us. Our faith and our prayers He will acknowledge based on His promises in scripture. For us not to have these expectations would be illogical and definetly not faith centered. We know His character by His actions and His words, and His consistantcies. You are implying that we have no right to expect this behavior because this verse was not about us per se. How are we supposed to act if we don't use guidance from scripture, and that we should not expect similar actions from Him if we direct our lives to what we know He desires. Our lives would be without faith if we can never expect any actions which scripture literally didn't imply directly to us as Christians. Should we just blow off Psalms?? God is the same now as in the beginning, and although we shouldn't expect identical responses, we should expect similar behavior.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Patriot,

If you'll read again the next to last paragraph of my last comment, I agree with you. This passage can be used with others to establish a particular principle that God does normally bless those who obey him, however the context of this passage is a specific promise to a specific nation in response to a specific prayer for that nation so we can't legitimately take it as a promise to us. We have no guarantees from God that he will do anything for our nation even if all Christians were to pray fervently for it. And, as a matter of making a point, I don't think this country will ever turn around because we have lost the culture war and we are certainly heading towards the end times when everything is supposed to get worse.

PATRIOT2010 said...

I KNOW MY "IF" IS MEANINGLESS BECAUSE TOO MANY HEARTS ARE HARDENED AND WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT, AND THIS WILL NOT CHANGE. WHEN OUR COUNTRY VOTED IN OBAMA THEY INITIALED THE PACT WITH SATAN, AND SADLY OUR NATION IS DAMNED AND THE COUNTRY AND LIFESTYLE AS WE KNOW IT WILL VERY SOON BE GONE. BUT..., I DO FEEL STRONGLY THAT THE LORD WILL TAKE CARE OF HIS PEOPLE (TRUE CHRISTIANS).

timothymatters said...

That was an insult. Coming out of a cult, I know what a cult is and i don't appreciate what you said in the least.

Secondly, you are swimming against the tide of Reformed Christians on this one. So you are saying that they, too, are cultist. Yet, were it not for the Reformation, we would still be bowing to the Pope.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Timothy,

I used to be a Mormon and for the past 35 years I have studied cults, so I am not unfamiliar with their hermeneutics. Your suggestion that in this passage “Israel” can mean “Christian” is the same type of hermeneutic; you take the context to mean what you want it to mean. As I pointed out, in THIS passage when God is talking about “HIS PEOPLE” he is responding to a prayer by Solomon about God’s actions to Israel. God is calling Israel His people and the passage is about God’s promise to the nation Israel in relation to their actions, based on the covenant he has with Israel and only Israel. You have decided that this passage can mean something else; this is the hermeneutic of the cults and false teachers. This passage is NOT about Christians in any way; it is NOT a promise to Christians and the USA as is propagated over and over by Christians who use your sort of hermeneutic.

By “Reformed Christians” you mean “Calvinists,” who have come to the arrogant conclusion that they have cornered the market on the Reformation - as if Calvin was the only reformer. Calvinists also claim to have the only truth with their five points of nonsense so I consider a lot of Calvinist dogma to cultic, especially when I get so much hate spewed at me when a Calvinist learns I’m not one (and immediately get labeled “Arminian,” which I’m not). So I will swim against Calvinists anytime the Bible says something different from what they say because the Bible is my standard, not Calvin or any other man.

And it wasn’t Calvin who stopped the tide of Romanism - Luther was there first, and many were fighting Romanism long before that.

Ron Livesay said...

Glenn:

I am a "Calvinist" who is not in the typical mode. I am also a dispensationalist, so I obviously do not hold to the entire body of theology that has come to be known as "Reformed Theology."

John MacArthur preached a great sermon on "Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist Should be a Pre-Millennialist," and I concur with what he has to say, not because he is John MacArthur, but because I beleive he is right.

I believe the Reformation did not go far enough. The reformers held to a different theology (a biblical one) of salvation than did they Catholic church, but they brought Catholic eschatology, etc. with them.

You don't have to be a Calvinist for me to like your blog. Yours is one of my favorites, and you do a great job of "contending earnestly for the faith." Keep up the good work.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Ron,

I'm humbled to have my blog as one of your favorites. Thank you for your kind words; I just do what I feel the Lord has called me to do - defend the faith!

Don't get me wrong; some of my favorite teachers are Calvinists. So they are a bit deceived with that 5-point stuff! MacArthur has been one of my favorites for a long time. I like Gary Gilley, R.C. Sproul and sometimes John Piper as well as others. One of these days these guys will learn the truth about the 5-points :oD

wildblue said...

It is only my opinion, but if we read, understand, and believe the prophecies for the end-times, then compare them with the eveing news, America (and the rest of the world) is slated for judgement, not healing. Glenn I have to agree with your analogy on this one. besides, does anybody REALLY think or believe we could get this country as a whole to repent and call on God? I don't think so...
Isreal is and always has been seperate from the church. We understand this when we rightly divide the Word.
Good post.

Anonymous said...

I am a layperson - student of the Word. The Lord has recently led me to a study of 2 Chronicles 7:14 in preparation to lead a new prayer emphasis for ladies at our church. HOWEVER, as I began studying the whole counsel context of the passage, I became convicted that it refers strictly to Israel. That runs counter to how I've always heard that specific scripture used to summon revival in our country. So, I began researching to see if God has led anyone else to the same conclusion and I came upon your blog (among others).

We as Americans -- even Believing Americans -- are a conceited people to think that we are God's chosen nation. As, Christians, I see where the misunderstanding has come from. We are indeed the spiritual Israel. But I think it's so much more comfortable for us to point a finger at our "nation" as being at fault --and needing to repent. Implying that us as Believers are all okay. Rather than examine ourselves to see where we are not living in obedience to God's mandate to make disciples.

In any event, all that just to say, that a common student of the Word, expecting to come to an opposite conclusion, innocently came to the same conviction as you.

Now I'm praying for the Lord to finetune His direction as I prepare for our ladies' prayer emphasis. We DO need to pray for our country.

Anonymous said...

Excellent!
I hate it when people clip out scriptures God said to Israel and apply it to America.
This is the main reason why so many souls are lost today.
It is taking out of context and shoving it where it fits the biased view of the Bible ignorant.
I read that Reverend Peter Marshall who died last year truly believed that 2 Chronicles 7:14 was for the United States.
I disagree with him and agree with you on your excellent teaching.

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord I found your blog.
I just stumbled on it today.
I am so tired, fed up and absolutely angry with clipped out scriptures used to "justify" or fit right in to someone's personal theology.
My Jesus if only the Bible was read and taught in its order as it was written. I think the lost would be saved, maybe not all but many would understand and come to Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Glenn, you asked if I can claim I am an heir to David's throne and my answer is yes very much so. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the seed of David. Romans 8:16-17 tells me, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together".

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous 9/20,

CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT.

We are NOT heirs of the throne of David - Only Christ is that heir to sit eternally on that throne.

Anonymous said...

The simple fact is that every single statement in 2 Chronicles 7:14 can indeed be applied to the Church in the New Testament. You are right about American not being "God's nation", but God is still the same God and you can support the following clearly from the New Testament though many Christians are not happy to learn this truth:

1) God DOES discipline the Church
2) We must humble ourselves before God in such situations
3) We must pray
4) We must seek His turning toward us (face)
5) He will respond in a very similar way

To use this passage in relation to New Testament scriptures is VERY sound exegesis, just as Paul did on many occasions with other OT passages that do not DIRECTLY apply to the Church (such as priestly issued).

Thanks

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous,

You are in error to say this passage can be used directly applied to the church, let alone to the church in the USA. I proved from Scripture what the context of this passage is, so to apply it directly to the Church is an abuse of the text and NOT “sound exegesis.”

If you want to use this passage in conjunction with other passages from the Bible to demonstrate God’s character in relation to punishing or disciplining those who claim to be His people (either Israel or the Church), then that is all well and good. But to use the passage alone and claim it for the U.S.A. is eisegesis and abuse of the passage.

Anonymous said...

How in the world would I begin to to inspiration message from 2 Chronicles 7:14 for today's Christian?....

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous,

Today's Christian is NOT supposed to get inspiration from the passage, except to know that Israel had/has a promise from God.