TheHOPE ~ התקווה
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THE DIVINE PLAN OF WORLD GOVERNMENT - Ethics - Bible study - New Israel

The early original formulation of the Servant Nation global messianic plan by Hugh Schonfield (before he became famous), with an appendix on more recent writings

An Introduction to the Doctrine of a Holy Nation



An address delivered on 21st April, 1940 at the Constructive World Peace Conference, South Lytchett Manor.


(Note: This document was contributed by Charlyne Valensin.

Charlyne assmes that the underlinings in yellow were done by Schonfield himself. I have amplified them with some underlinings in green.)



WHEN a man is charged with making known divine counsels he has not so much to weigh his words as his own soul; and if he can feel that he comes to his task with faith and assurance he also approaches it with spiritual fear and concern—as I do now—lest he himself should be an obstacle to the acceptance of the message.

Most of us will have recognized that we have been brought together for a very dangerous purpose, to consult on the destruction of anarchy and its replacement by theocracy—the rule of God in the lives of men and nations. We are conspirators, and we are handling dynamite, not the feeble explosive of limited range and effectiveness, but the far more devastating force — the dunamis — the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let us think well before we touch off this terrible bomb of love and righteousness. It will probably cost us our lives: it will certainly transform them and change the face of the world. Are we prepared for the consequences of what we think to do? Are we willing for ties to be broken, for our measured existence to be shattered into a thousand fragments, for things we have called our own to be not our own, and for sorrows and sufferings which are endured by others to become our own?

If we are not ready for all this it is hardly God’s peace on earth that we are seeking, but more the extension of a selfish tranquility, the acquiescence in a common standard of tolerable iniquity.

I know what readiness means, and I am among you as one who reaches out in trust for the will to obedience. I desire to be made ready, and all of us at this Conference surely wish that what we have learned and what we have still to learn will strengthen and help us to overcome our natural shrinking from a grave and pressing responsibility. There are things which I have to say to you, strange and difficult things, which need that your minds and hearts should be open and attentive.

The message I bring is reinforced by the knowledge that both the time and occasion are opportune for its delivery; but I cannot conceal that it will involve us in definite action if we receive it, for its whole purport is to set forth the divine plan of world government.

Birth made me a member of that ancient people which first used the expression — the Kingdom of God — and gave to humanity the ideal of a society which would draw its inspiration direct from the Fountainhead of goodness and truth. Woven into the very fabric of the conception is the idea of holiness, the sanctification of all life and all ministrations as between man and God and between man and man. Nowhere in it is there room for pride or self-seeking.

But it is not enough to know the spiritual and historical implications of the Kingdom of God. We must know that we are in it and of it, that we are one with the Initiator and Instigator of this regime. Those who went before us failed to establish the Kingdom of God because they could not bear to be different, to be dedicated. My own people first, and then the Church, broke their compact. When God appointed them to separateness, to be a nation apart, they would be like the other nations. They would have dominion and power and glory in its ignobler forms rather than yield up all such things to God to whom they supremely belong.

And what has been the result? That in this twentieth century we have a world stained with strife and hatred, and nowhere a refining and purifying influence to put a restraint on the worst passions of mankind.

I do not know what individually you believe the Kingdom of God to be, or how it is to be achieved; but those who have studied the Bible should at least be familiar with its essential features. Every age, however, has its own revelation, and there are still mysteries in the Scriptures which in other ages were not made known, and which the Spirit of God declares at the due season when prevailing conditions make their application comprehensible. One of those epochs was reached nineteen hundred years ago: we have reached another now.

The gospel of the Kingdom of God for the coming era is the gospel of the holy nation. It is fully dealt with in the Bible, yet its full implications could not be understood until today. This is what I have called the divine plan of world government.

The plan emerged on the plane of history and commenced to become effectual with the call of Abraham the Hebrew, to whom God said: “I will make of thee a great nation . . . and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3, 28:14). In this promise is the first intimation of something different from the common conception of the function of nationhood, something far removed from the lust for conquest and tribal egoism. A nation is to come into being in which all others are to be blessed.

At that time God began to fashion a people to serve the very end for which the nations of our own time have been trying in vain to set up adequate machinery. The seer Balaam, looking down from the heights upon the tents of Israel in the wilderness, was inspired to proclaim:

How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?
Or how shall I denounce, whom the Lord hath not denounced? 
For from the top of the rocks I see him,
And from the hills I behold him:
It is a people that shall dwell alone.
And shall not be reckoned among the nations.           (Numbers 23:8-9)

A people dwelling alone, not reckoned among the nations. It is for such a nation that the world has unwittingly been in quest, one which is separated from its problems of boundaries, and raw materials, and living-space, a nation that is international, intimately affected through its members by all the vicissitudes of states and yet so universal in outlook as to be capable of transcending the exclusiveness of more limited sovereignties.

To Israel God declared through Moses: “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then shall ye be unto Me a special possession from among all peoples—for all the earth is Mine—and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” And again: "Ye shall be holy unto Me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be Mine.”

The imagination of a holy nation is so august, that it seems impossible to credit human genius with it, especially in the barbaric age in which it was made known. Yet there was much in the content of the conception that could only be illustrated when within the nation itself there existed a priestly tribe.

The economy of Israel in the wilderness now plainly appears as a microcosm, the priestly tribe of Levites performing the same function in Israel as Israel was to perform in the world of nations. It is written: “At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi ... to stand before the Lord and to bless in His name. . . . Therefore Levi hath no part or inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance according as the Lord thy God promised him.” (Deuteronomy 33:8)

Just as Israel was to bless all nations so the Levites blessed the twelve tribes, and just as Israel was to dwell alone and not be reckoned among the nations so the Levites dwelt alone and were not reckoned among the tribes of Israel.

The description which the Pentateuch gives of the divinely ordained arrangement of the camp of Israel further makes it clear that we are looking at a scale-model of the larger economy. Central in the scheme is the Tabernacle of Meeting, God’s dwelling place. Immediately about the Tabernacle are disposed the priestly tribe, while in groups to the north, south, east and west of it, are placed the tents of the twelve tribes. These positions signify the relation of the holy nation to the other nations, and enable us to understand the dark saying in the Song of Moses:

When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance,
When He separated the sons of men,
He set the bounds of the people
According to the number of the children of Israel     (

It is evident that the Pentateuch brings symbolically before us a plan of world government which has not so far been established, and differing from any that human genius has hitherto proposed. It is the plan of a theocracy - for God must be central in any enduring scheme — but in its operation it provides for the isolation and sanctification of one nation out of all nations through which justice and well-being can be assured to every people.

Among certain nations at the present time there is a vaunting of race often expressed in terms of a divine choice: its fruits are manifest in savagery and selfishness. This is a revival of the spirit of idolatrous imperialism, a counterfeit of God’s intention, having every quality except that of righteousness and holiness. Let there be no misunderstanding to blind our minds to the fact that “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen.” The function of the chosen people is one of disinterested service without self-commendation, and its supreme representative could truly say, “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” He also said: “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” There could be no more explicit repudiation of domination and authoritarianism.

The choice of God undoubtedly carries with it an offence. That is why we have anti-Semitism and anti-Christianism. It is the offence of the cross, the instrument of degradation which has become the symbol of salvation. The status of the chosen people excludes boasting: it is not of works but of grace.

Israel of old broke the covenant of separateness and sanctification. But God’s plan and purpose remained unaltered. Even while the people went astray the figure of an ideal Israelite, keeper of the covenant, was held before them. He, the Messiah, would be the glory of Israel and a light for the Gentiles, and Israel’s mission would concentrate in his person. He would set the seal on God’s new covenant with His people, whose law should then be written on their hearts and their iniquity would be forgiven.

I have no need to speak to this company of the life and works of Jesus, the promised Messiah or, as we say, Christ, except to point out that the most striking element in the development of the divine plan which he emphasized was that the accident of birth which made a man a racial son of Abraham did not make him a spiritual son. Physical descent could no longer be a sufficient qualification for membership of the holy nation. Many would achieve (the) Israelite status that were not born of Jewish parents, and many born Jews would forfeit their status. The parable of the wicked husbandmen ends with the significant warning: “Therefore say I unto you, the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”

It is still a nation, and still Israel, through whom the divine purpose will be accomplished; but its constituent members will not all be of the same race. For Jesus the world remained a world of distinct nations, with the holy nation as its mentor and mediator. He taught the brotherhood of the faithful, which must precede the brotherhood of man.

How stood the chosen people after the advent of Christ? The New Testament expressly condemns any theory of substitution, a casting away of Israel and its replacement by another people.

The apostles held and proclaimed that the Church is that very same Israel which was descended from Abraham, which was redeemed from Egypt, which received the law, and for which in the end Christ died. There was no break in the continuity of God’s relations with His people; but there was a new forward impulse, a new building up, a new recruiting. And the larger number of those who were now included in the holy nation were formerly Gentiles. St. Paul writes much of the mystery which had been revealed, that in the new dispensation Gentiles could be fellow-heirs (with the natural Israel), “and of the same body, and partakers of God’s promise in the Messiah by the Gospel.” He tells these non-Jewish believers that they are Gentiles no longer, nor aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, nor strangers from the covenants of promise, for that the Messiah has broken down the barrier which in the Temple barred Gentiles from access to the Court of Israel. “If ye are Christ’s,” he says, “then are ye Abraham’s seed.”

St. Paul illustrates his argument, repeated in so many forms in his epistles, with the figure of the olive tree of Israel, from which some of the natural branches have been broken off through unbelief, and into which Gentile wild olive branches have been grafted through faith. These new Israelites are admonished not to boast of their acquired status, but to recognize its responsibilities, lest they in turn be cut off. On the other hand the day will come when with faith regained the broken off branches will be restored to their position, and so the holy nation will be complete.

It follows from this teaching, not only that all Christians are Israelites, but that all persons on becoming Christians cease to be Greek or Roman, French or German: they have “another king, one Jesus.” The failure of the Church has been in large measure due to the refusal of its members to abandon their Gentile nationalities. It follows further that the future of the Church and the Jews is identical. They were ordained to be one and the same people, one fold and one shepherd, the priestly kingdom ministering to all other kingdoms, the holy nation sanctifying all other nations.

When the Church exchanged the status of a nation for that of a religion, and placed theology before theocracy, it inevitably postponed all prospect of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth.

Nearly two thousand years have gone by, and only now do the signs begin to appear of a turning back to the divine plan, and of a repentant desire by Christians to fulfill it. To bring about this change has required a social and political upheaval even more far-reaching than was effected in the ancient world before the advent of Christ, and an exile of Christians from the established churches greater than the exile of the Jews from the Holy Land. External forces, the agents of God, have caused the emergence in the world itself of ideas of world community and world citizenship. It is seen by serious political thinkers that if peace and justice are to reign there must be a loyalty above that which is due from subjects to their own nation-state. Much is being done, and rightly, to encourage such ideas, but let us face up to the fact that the governmental union of nations is something very remote, and that it offers no immediate or even near solution to our problems. What we have to concern ourselves with is the bridge that will bring us safely to that farther shore.

In considering this bridge we must consider that the goal of our hope cannot be a new Babel, which apparently would satisfy many, a Cosmopolis in which all human viciousness would agglomerate: it must be a Theopolis, a City of God, into which shall be brought “the glory and honour of nations”. Into that city, we are taught, “there shall in no wise enter anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.” The character of this goal should alone be sufficient to show us how far we are from it.

The bridge, then, must be one that will carry us eventually to the New Jerusalem, not to a New Babylon.

In the divine plan the bridge is called the Kingdom of God, and the builders of the bridge are the people of God. The international organization above all others which has to be constituted and finally acknowledged in law is the holy nation, that into its fellowship may come all those who hear a call to world service and are ready to live according to its exacting standards. The functioning of such a nation is the only way in which the transition can be effected from world chaos to world order.

As one to whom the Gospel for the Nations has been committed, let me argue God’s case with you. If ever it was certain that the end of an age had come, it is certain now; for the world can hardly bear to contemplate its future. On every side there is thought of irretrievable loss, not of gain or of progress. We have reached one of a succession of historic epochs — the most critical of them all — when God must again intervene to demonstrate the way of life and salvation. 'If the end of the Mediterranean age required the advent of a Messiah, what does the end of this Atlanto-Pacific age require, but the coming of a Messianic Nation?

The redemptive agency this time must be a nation, because it is nations and peoples that stand in need of redemption. The emphasis is on the group and on the community. It is man-collective who is perishing, not man-individual. When men, as individuals, found themselves hopeless and lost, God sent a Man. Now He sends a Nation.

Before Christ came there had grown up an anticipatory belief in His coming, a belief which intensified as the advent moment drew near. We should expect similar evidences of the advent of a savior-nation to be current to-day. Are these signs present? Assuredly they are.

It is difficult to take up any serious study of our perplexing world problems — whether in book, pamphlet, or article — without meeting again and again with the insistence on the necessity for an international authority. The League of Nations Union has made a slogan of it: “An International Authority is Essential to Lasting Peace.” The question is posed with pathetic re-iteration, who can mediate and arbitrate between nations? Since the dawn of the century movements have been increasingly active which have as their object a unified system of control over the relations of states, and some have already been instrumental in setting up partially accepted machinery. We have a League of Nations, a Permanent Court of International Justice, and many lesser bodies and institutions. We have plans for Federal Union and the World Commonwealth. All of these endeavors stress the same heartfelt desire for a corporate power above and distinct from the nation-states, some authority that is supra-territorial and international.

Each articulate group has its own conception of the messianic authority, and how it is to function, just as the pre-Christian apocalyptic writers and prophets had their own idea of the Messiah, who he would be, and what he would do.

Neither does the comparison end there. Ecclesiastical students have seen how the Roman rule and Roman roads in the Mediterranean age made possible the journeys of the apostles who carried the Gospel message, while the widespread use of the Greek tongue made that message readily understood. If these and other circumstances had not existed the churches could not have been so quickly established throughout the world of Ptolemaic geography. Everything was in readiness when the time for revelation came. Is it not so also to-day? Is not the world of global proportions prepared for the Gospel it is to receive? Space has been annihilated. Radio and cinema, telegraph and telephone, airplane, rail and steamship, the Press and the pamphlet, all now provide for the speedy dissemination of a world message and the creating of world organizations. Science, economics, culture and humanitarian enterprises have been inter-nationalized. “The interdependence of the modern world,” says one writer “means that a world order sooner or later is inevitable.” We can see the force of truth in Madariaga’s words: “The Divine will has chosen this our age for the world consciousness to emerge from the depths. Think what we will, wish what we may, we are all citizens of the world.”

The anticipations of contemporary thinkers are still for the most part guesses at the kind of international authority which is feasible. Most of them take the long view to the world as it will become, rather than elaborate the process of becoming. It is God’s Gospel that sets forth the process that reveals that the authority for the transition era is to be a holy nation, as was foreshadowed in all the Scriptures. That nation is to arise out of the political amalgamation of Jews and Christians infused with the spirit of holiness. Together they are to fulfill the function allotted to them, the function of the chosen people.

We shall then expect that among the adherents of these theocratic faiths there will be evidences of a turning towards a corporate service for the world, an overstepping of the boundaries of religion into the territories of politics and economics. Again these things are so. Let me quote what representative Jews and Christians have been saying.

The Jewish author Leon Feuchtwanger has written: “I am bold enough to dream further than the most ardent Zionist, to dream that Jerusalem would become the centre not only of Judaism, but of the whole world. Yes, when I am quite bold, then I dream that Jerusalem might become for the world what the founders of the League of Nations had dreamed Geneva would become for all mankind.”

Another writer declares: “We have done nothing as Jews for centuries. Cannot we be a conscious force making for nobler ends? Could we not, for instance, be the link of federation among the nations, acting everywhere in favor of peace? Could we not be the centers of new sociologic movements in each country?”

Here are two Christian statements. The first is by Stanley Jones. “To those who are afraid of putting the Kingdom of God through the political order,” he says, “we answer that there is no alternative. For if we do not control the political life with the Kingdom-of-God program, then either Communism or Fascism will take it over.”

The Bishop of Plymouth has pointed out that "It is only in view of the idea of a nation as a unit of service that Christianity can co-exist with a world of nations. To a Christian man, his duty to his nation can never be the first claim on his allegiance."

These statements, which could be multiplied, clearly exhibit the effort of an inner spirit struggling to break through the cramping walls of dogmatic religion into a larger sphere of activity and service for mankind. They begin to recognize a national function of an international character, and the sentiments are closely akin. Both for Jews and Christians, in fact, there is progressively manifested a conscious attempt at recapturing a status and a sense of mission which were taken for granted at the dawn of the previous Gospel age, but since fallen into abeyance.

What is now being recovered is the ancient Jewish universalism and the ancient Christian nationalism; for, for the purpose of the divine plan of world government, the chosen people must have a national and a universal aspect. The objective of an International Authority requires a community sufficiently independent to be an authority and sufficiently inter-dependent to be international. The revival on either side of the essential complementary characteristic points the way to the fusion of the two long separated parts; and the ground for amalgamation is the alignment that is taking place and the common conception of the Kingdom of God.

The revival of the theocratic principle of human government is indeed one of the major signs of the times. Stanley Jones is right in affirming: “As the demand for an all-comprehending principle and power for unity is now pressing upon the world-soul, this buried idea of the Kingdom of God is becoming a new, living issue. It is experiencing nothing less than a resurrection, and is becoming the question of questions.”

Why is the existence of an international nation essential? Why is it preferable to have such a nation rather than any other institution for the settlement of world problems? These questions must receive an explicit answer.

We all know and appreciate the power of example and the influence of personal character. As Seneca has said: “Men trust rather to their eyes than to their ears; the effect of precepts is therefore slow and tedious, whilst that of examples is summary and effectual.”

To hope to bring order into international chaos by moral persuasion, by high-sounding phrases of covenant and treaty, by declarations of rights and the passing of legislation, by pacts and pledges, if not entirely futile, is at least an expectation that depends for fulfillment on a long and laborious process for which, perhaps, there may be no opportunity. Neither men nor nations are readily made good by law. If it were otherwise the Covenant of the League and the Pact of Paris would have secured the world against war.

If Israel of old had kept the covenant, as they agreed to do, it would not have needed that the Messiah should come. But because they failed it did need that he should come in order to provide the example of an Israelite living in complete accordance with the divine will. We now know that man can be Godlike because Jesus was so, and the example of perfect manhood is held before us in Christ-likeness. Through the power of that example men have been changed.

It is the same with nations. If they could have kept the covenant into which they entered, it would not have needed that there should be a messianic nation. But they having failed there must be demonstrated in a nation the ability to live up to international law. When one nation has shown what a people should be in all its relations, others will be transformed by that example. This theme is the burden of Sir Francis Younghusband’s allegorical novel 'The Coming Country'.

The thought of example, as applied to nations, is not foreign to contemporary political ideas. It is often suggested that Great Britain or the United States, as wealthy and influential powers, should “give a lead.” Unfortunately, like the rich young ruler of the Gospel story, they are unequal to the demand, and hold back from messianic service because of their great possessions. Smaller groups of a non-national character have, however, responded to the call of discipleship, and there has been a notable increase in the practice of community-living. But because we are living in a world of nations no other kind of institution will satisfy the need for a national example. The Kingdom of God must be exhibited in operation in a nation before the rest of the world will be inclined to adopt it.

Another reason why we must have an international nation is to act as a bridge between the nation-state and the world-state. We are invited to begin to live and to think as world citizens; but those who are sincere in their advocacy of this nobility of outlook admit that its accomplishment is a rarity, and that at present the majority of people show little disposition towards such an enlargement of allegiance. The chill fact has to be faced that the world-state is to-day intangible and almost mythical. The nation-state is real to us: the world-state is unreal. We, therefore, have no sense of obligation to what is imaginary.

How then are we to proceed? Only by accepting God’s plan which provides an institution at once national and international. There comes into being an actual nation with its own legal citizenship, which yet being supra-territorial with its citizens resident in every state is at the same time international. We have already seen that Jews and Christians are to compose this nation, the people of the Kingdom of God. The Jews present already the appearance of that nation in everything except legal nationality. The Christians are fast shaping to the same appearance, and by Christians we mean mainly those followers of Christ not of Jewish origin whether they are in the churches or outside them. The anonymous second century writer of the Epistle to Diognetus well described the Christian position as it once was and must be again. “For Christians,” he says, “are not distinguished from the rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in customs. For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own. . . . But while they dwell in the cities of Greeks and barbarians as the lot of each is cast . . . yet the constitution of their own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvelous, and confessedly contradicts expectation. They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign.” This might well be a description of the Jewish people.

In modern language the rightful position of Jew and Christian in any country is that of a friendly alien. To regularize the position there is one clear further step to be taken, the discarding by legal process of all limited nationalities and the acquisition by legal process of a common extra-territorial nationality. Then you have immediately a true international nation, the bridge people that can carry the nations over to world union by a gradual transition. Membership of this nation becomes a real world citizenship, not an imaginary one, and it is a genuine national institution, which yet has no frontiers or racial and economic barriers.

The final argument lies in the desirability of detachment and for an uncompromising allegiance. There must be absolute dedication to world service and the theocratic mission.

Once more we must turn back to Christ for a precedent. It was necessary for Jesus to give up his family and city, while still loving both, in order to find mother and sisters and brothers among all who would do the will of God. He had to become the Son of Man. It is no less needful that the messianic nation, through its members, should surrender all other nationality, while loving the nation of their origin and place of residence, in order to associate with all nations and become the People of Man.

There are people to-day, among them pacifists, whose wider ideals conflict with the national policy. Their outlook invites the terrible epithet of traitor. Yet what are they to do? When we disagree with the policy of an institution to which we belong the honest and obvious thing to do is to resign our membership. But we cannot resign from the state, for statelessness is not a legally recognized status. We know something now of the position of the stateless person, and the temporary expedient of the Nansen passport. The only remedy is the creation of a legally recognized international nation. To this nation all who feel a call to world service can and should belong.

Something of the internationalism that is not directly subservient to state interests has already been realized by purely scientific bodies, by the International Red Cross, the International Labor Organization, the Society of Friends, the Salvation Army, and other institutions. The bonds between the members of these bodies are cultural, humanitarian, social, or religious. All are in their way both spiritual and materialistic, and have won universal recognition and respect. For a like success in the domain of government it is required that the international institution should not only possess all these qualities, but should also be a nation.

The difficulties in the way of any other kind of institution are almost insuperable, and arise out of the very nature of their character. Madariaga, who for several years was on the League of Nations Secretariat, has stated that these difficulties are due to divided allegiance. “More deplorable,” he writes,” indeed, almost unpardonable — is the sight of League of Nations experts, paid by League of Nations funds and trusted to give evidence as free and good men, who twist their advice to suit the policy of their own Governments. This spectacle can be witnessed again and again at Geneva.” He claims that “the Secretariat should be, not an equitable and well-adjusted group of nationally-minded people, but a unit of world-minded officials.”

That is the position, and the risk that is attached to every political organization dealing with international affairs, whose members are not wholly divorced from their local nationalities. “No man can serve two masters,” The judge, arbiter and mediator for nations must be utterly impartial, and not himself a party to the dispute. Only the international nation can assure a "unit of world-minded officials.” What requires to be done is that this God-ordained, interpenetrative, disinterested people should as soon as practicable assume the status of a nation — and reign.

And if we ask, what title to nationality has a miscellaneous group of world-minded persons? we answer, The title in Christ to the inheritance of God’s people Israel. The Jews have it by descent, the non-Jews by faith in Christ. In this, as in many other things, Jews and Christians are at one, and must unite. Our nationhood of a separate, priestly, world-ministering character has been provided. Nowhere will be found such another, neither is it in our power to create such ancestry or national corporateness by any artifice. Without our Israelite heritage we could be a religion, an alliance, a fellowship, but not a nation.

There is my case. I have shown you that God has a plan of government for His world, by means of which mankind is to achieve lasting happiness. I have shown the special need for the adoption of that plan in our own day, and I have indicated some of the circumstances which prove that at last man’s will is approaching a confluence with God’s will.

The plan is real and practical for the world which we know, though so many are still unaware that the God, who made heaven and earth and all things therein, is a greater realist than any of them. They imagine that what is spiritual is unpractical, though even academically omniscience must be infinitely more practical than partial perception. It is they, in their boldest and most elaborate schemes, who are pitifully unpractical; for their limitations render them easily liable to self-delusion, and there are essential considerations which they ignore and factors which they overlook. And because of this —

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

Gang aft a-gley,

And lea'e us naught but grief and pain

For promised joy.

And so comes man trailing his failures a long way behind the “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” and reaching in the toil of thousands of years something approaching what the Divine Spirit had of old declared to be the system of government which alone can promote the world’s lasting welfare.

But if mankind is slow of heart to believe what the prophets have said, it is an eloquent testimony to the intimate relationship subsisting between God and man that our sincere strivings do ultimately produce a kindred conception to that of revelation, because whether we are conscious of it or not God is after all working in us and through us.

So it is to-day, in our reaching out towards a uniting influence in the domain of international politics, that it is being suggested by some who would deny that they are thinking God’s thoughts after Him that there should be created a legal international citizenship as a half-way step towards world citizenship. When we read such things we humbly welcome the inspiration, and thank God for His compassion and grace manifested in His creatures.

Certain courses of action become constantly clearer. We know that whatever be the outcome of the conflict in which the nations are at present engaged the ensuing peace will be of no more than temporary duration unless we are prepared to become as little children, and to entrust to an adult authority for safekeeping some things that we are not trained as yet to use other than harmfully. "We must hand over the matches and the pocket-knife to a “grown-up,” and submit our national lives to a kindly discipline. But the “grown-up” must represent a wise and beneficent authority, and the discipline must be one which is loving and evokes love: we cannot surrender to an arbitrary authority much less to a potential bully.

We wait therefore, in the Bible words, with groaning and travail for the manifestation of the sons of God, for the holy supra-territorial nation to take shape and substance; for no other will serve our need. This does not relieve the world's governments from striving to better their relations in order that peace may be prolonged and equity prevail; because the post-war conditions will be terrible enough to require the aid of all men of goodwill to mitigate them. But it does mean that until the holy nation is recognized and recognizable many grave international problems must continue unsolved, and what is more fundamental the spirit that provokes war will remain in the world.

The prophet Isaiah described the holy nation as being born in a day; and if that day should not happen to be one of twenty-four hours in our reckoning it may still be expected to represent a remarkably short space of time. Spiritual births are normally more rapid than physical ones. Suddenly and stealthily, “like a thief in the night” as we are told, the Kingdom of God will be upon us, and no one will afterwards be able to declare the precise moment when it came.

The discovery by the world of a spiritual nation in its midst, wholly dedicated to its well-being in all spheres of human activity will provide the most dramatic episode in its fretful history.

Here at last will have been forged the true link joining nation to nation, a nation without frontiers and territorial possessions, inter-racial and theocratic, bringing under its aegis as time goes on all international machinery for the adjustment of differences and the promotion of cooperation, leading the world into the fruitful paths of order, peace and blessing.

The advantages of the plan, which is indeed God’s plan, are obvious. Once trained on its objective the mind leaps to envisage all the fertile possibilities which it embraces. I know that there will quickly arise, there are now arising, those who will translate the thoughts into actions, who, fired by the Divine Spirit, will devote their service and substance as each is endowed to spreading this Gospel, to creating machinery and working out details, to assist in their own capacity great and small at the birth of a nation, the creation of which involves no dislocation or friction between states, which gives to them all and takes from none, and whose joyful fate it is to initiate the era of the restoration of all things.

The article above was the seed for the 1970 book - ''The Politics of God' - now available as a Kindle e-book. Its contents list is: 

Prologue; Part One: 1 God and Man, 2 Towards the Theocratic, 3 In Fear and in Anger, 4 Messianism, 5 The Priestly People, 6 The Holy King, 7 Conflicting Claims, 8 The Times of the Gentiles, 9 What may be Gleaned. 

Part Two: 1 Twentieth Century Man, 2 War and Law, 3 One World, 4 The Brink or the Eve?, 5 A Time of Testing, 6 The Third Phase, 7 Plan in Progress; Epilogue, Appendix.

To download the book

For all Schonfields e-books -

For contacting the publisher -


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