On Friday, January 20, 2017, my son and I attended the inauguration for President Donald John Trump. I would have preferred to watch it from the warmth and comfort of my living room, and with our new high definition television, the details of the ceremony would have been far more visible. Still, I felt there would be something magical about being there.
My wife was volunteering with the American Red Cross for the event, and my son was determined to go and take pictures with or without me. Then at the last moment, a new friend offered two of his silver zone tickets since his wife had decided to stay home with their baby. How could I refuse this generous gift from the Lord? After all, I did vote for Trump, even if it was mostly for his positive stance towards Israel.
The rain held back, and the temperatures were unseasonably warm for January. A gentle mist fell precisely at the time of Trump’s swearing in—a blessing of sorts. The opening prayers were powerful, and just hearing the name of Jesus proclaimed over our nation lifted my spirit. I was equally impressed that President Trump had invited a conservative rabbi to be part of the ceremony—something not done since the days of President Reagan.
As the prayers ascended to heaven, I watched the face of each person standing on the presidential platform, albeit through a large video screen. President Obama had his eyes tightly closed in deep introspection on the Lord. President Bush Jr. had his eyes wide open and was smiling at the people around him. And President-elect Trump’s eyes were half open; maybe an effort to stay focused on the events unfolding before him. Trump’s speech was well written, and he did a great job articulating his political points. But somehow it left me feeling empty.
I was staring at him the whole time—analyzing every word and looking for any reflection of humility or gentleness. But that is not what I heard or felt. It was a strong and nationalistic message that rang with inferences of economic prosperity and safety through American isolationism—an appeal to poor and middle-class Americans. “America first,” Trump stated as he promised to be the president of the people.
But outside the heavily barricaded perimeter of the National Mall, thousands of Americans were protesting our newly elected president. My son and I got trapped on our way over to the presidential parade by street protestors and small gangs of anarchists storming the city—smashing windows, burning trash cans, and even destroying several vehicles. The police quickly responded in riot gear. Flash grenades exploded over our heads, rubber bullets whizzed by, and pepper spray clouded the air. But unfortunately, much of the damage had already been done.
Was this our new America—a nation deeply divided by socioeconomic, race, gender, religion, and a myriad of other social and environmental issues? Strangely, Washington D.C. on this day was already divided by concrete barricades, military vehicles, and tall metal fencing blocking many streets. As we walked towards our inauguration viewing area, my son commented on how he felt like we were in a Nazi concentration camp.
After the inauguration, we walked for hours trying to get to the parade. We never made it. Later that day, we found out that many others never did either, due to the impassible maze of security checkpoints. From a short distance, we could see rows of empty bleachers lining Pennsylvania Avenue, wondering why there was barely anyone there. As it turned out, the parade was hardly viewable given the tightly packed rows of police officers and Navy personnel lining both sides of the street. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder, arms firmly locked on their hips, and staring blankly at the crowd.
On August 31, 2016, the Lord gave me this dream about our nation. In it, I was sitting at a desk in what appeared to be a library. The Lord spoke to me in His gentle voice and said, “Sit and write the things I will show you that are to come.” I could see our nation torn in two. We had somehow become like two separate countries. The dividing line seemed to be along the Mississippi River. The western part of the U.S. was in chaos and anarchy, with vigilante and militia armies roaming everywhere trying to defend their communities. The eastern part of the U.S. was also deeply shaken, but starting to recover slowly. I then heard the Lord speak to me and say, “I will preserve a remnant of this nation for my glory, but the half I will turn over to destruction in judgment for their sin.”
Wow! This dream was in sharp contrast to the celebrations and cheers of our new president—confidence that America was now God’s chosen nation. I share these words with reservation as most white evangelical Christians are gleaming at the thought of Trump as their president, some even calling him a Cyrus—a type of Messiah or savior for America. But what exactly does the Lord desire to save? Biblically, Cyrus was never given a decree to rebuild America. He was given a decree from the Lord to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple.[i] Could the church have misunderstood?
The Lord spoke to me again and said, “Trump is a hammer, and I hold him in my hands to bring forth both my goodness and severity.[ii] I will use him to bless my people, Israel. Those who stand with Israel will be blessed, but those who oppose her, even those who call themselves Christians will fall under my judgment.[iii] I will use Trump to protect Israel and to protect my true bride, but I will also use him to bring my severity, my hand of redemptive judgment against this nation and against all who oppose me. Part of this judgment will come in the form of division, and Trump will bring division to my church and this nation, for I am preparing the world for my soon return.”[iv]
This reminded me of the words echoed by Rick Ridings from Succat Hallel Jerusalem over our nation in 2014, “Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29, NKJV).[v] The separation has begun—the goats from the sheep—those who will stand with Him and His covenant people, Israel,[vi] and those who will stand in opposition. For these prophetic words will ring true, “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3).
The Lord then reminded me once again that “His kingdom is not of this world.”[vii] And if we are in Him, then we are also not of this world.[viii] “Do not attach yourself to earthly things,”[ix] He said, “For everything in this earth is about to be shaken and removed, and only those things which are of My eternal kingdom will remain.”[x] This unshakeable presence in the world is His true bride and spotless church that is filled with His Holy Spirit.
We, like Yeshua, are to be a shelter in the storm that is coming,[xi] and our eyes need to be continually on our Bridegroom and not on any earthly nation or president. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28), even serving our current president and government, and especially praying for it, but always knowing that our kingdom is not of this world.[xii]
Much of the church has been blinded and deceived, somehow believing that Trump will save America. Saved, despite the millions of murdered unborn babies. Saved from the history of violence against the First Nations People, the American Indians. Saved from the scars of African slavery. And, saved from a growing number of godless people who have placed themselves above the true God of this world—demanding abortion, demanding the law of divorce, demanding the normalization of perverse lifestyles, and demanding unrestrained access to drugs and other sinful lusts of the flesh.[xiii] Oh no, this nation cannot survive the lawlessness that is abounding, for this is but one sign of the end.[xiv] Only if the people of this nation repent and return to the God of Israel, then I pray He will spare her.
And the church has become confused over her allegiance to the right kingdom. Do we not read scripture and see that every nation and every earthly government will eventually collapse and fall under the sovereign authority of our King, Yeshua? “For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, And those nations shall be utterly ruined” (Isiah 60:12).
Many say, how can a loving God judge this nation? I ask in return, how can a loving God forgo judging and disciplining this nation? “For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). God’s judgments are always redemptive, and we know that judgment first begins in the house of the Lord.[xv] “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6). Even the angels cry out, “Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments” (Revelation 16:7).
Where sin abounds, God’s grace abounds even more.[xvi] Therefore, it is God’s grace to discipline both His church and this nation and bring the people back to Himself. For if the riots and the millions who marched the following Saturday are any indications of the depth of division, then we have not seen the full wrath of this judgment.
President Trump may be the hammer, but only Yeshua can bring the healing because the wounds are very deep—even to the very deepest parts of the soul. And it is not for us to point our self-righteous fingers of condemnation, but to wear the shoes of peace and reconciliation.[xvii] For the Lord said, “I will leave in your midst A meek and humble people, And they shall trust in the name of the Lord” (Zephaniah 3:12). And that is precisely what Yeshua’s kingdom looks like. He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
Will our thoughts, our speech, and most importantly, our actions be focused entirely on the Lord, to show love in place of hatred, and peace instead of violence,[xviii] to show strength instead of fear, and faith amid persecution?[xix] And will we establish true and lasting reconciliation through the blood of Lamb, not just talking about it, but laying down our lives as a demonstration of living sacrifices—so that the world will look and know that we truly are His disciples?[xx]
I pray we will, for we need always to remember again that our kingdom is not of this world. Laws will be passed, and stakes are being driven into the ground, and the church and citizens of this nation must decide where they will stand—either with the God of Israel and His people or with the god of this world? This is what the Lord desires to save, not an earthly nation, but its people that would repent, return to the Lord and be saved. These eternal souls would become part of His heavenly kingdom, and these eternal souls are our heavenly treasure.[xxi]
A kingdom is a nation of people—both physical and spiritual—whose ruler is God as King. So, a kingdom has a King, and His name is Yeshua, and a kingdom has a people who form a nation that serves that King. The kingdom belongs to the King, and its people are His domain. His kingdom is not of this world, and neither is ours.
Let us be like Abraham, “for he [also] waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). And let us wait with excitement and eager anticipation for His imminent return.[xxii] “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19).
One day soon, His heavenly kingdom and this earthly place will merge into one. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Like the Garden of Eden—a singularity in space and time, the heavenly realm will invade us, and He will establish His kingdom in Israel from Jerusalem. “[Oh] My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:2). The Spirit and the bride say, Come, Lord Jesus, Come![xxiii]
[i] Isaiah 44:28.
[ii] Proverbs 21:1, Romans 11:22.
[iii] Genesis 12:3.
[iv] Matthew 10:34.
[v] All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Bible (NKJV) unless otherwise noted, Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982.
[vi] Genesis 15:18.
[vii] John 18:36.
[viii] John 17:16, Philippians 3:20.
[ix] Colossians 3:2.
[x] Hebrews 12:27.
[xi] Isaiah 25:4.
[xii] 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
[xiii] Jeremiah 22:17.
[xiv] 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4.
[xv] 1 Peter 4:17-18.
[xvi] Romans 5:20.
[xvii] Ephesians 6:15.
[xviii] Matthew 5:44.
[xix] 1 Timothy 6:12, 2 Timothy 1:7.
[xx] John 13:34-35.
[xxi] Matthew 6:20-21.
[xxii] Luke 12:37.
[xxiii] Revelation 22:17.