Repenting On Behalf Of Our Country?
Now the glory of the
God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it
had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then
the Lord called
to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at
his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of
Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who
grieve and lament over all the detestable things that
are done in it.”
As I listened, he said to the
others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without
showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men
and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone
who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began
with the elders who were in front of the temple. (Ezekiel
The principle of marking those
who would be protected from judgment was first mentioned
in Genesis 4:15 when the Lord marked Cain as a
warning to those who might try to kill him for murdering
It had also been hinted at when
the Lord told Elijah He had reserved 7,000 faithful in
Israel who had not succumbed to idol worship (1 Kings
19:18), but Ezekiel 9:4 stands as the
clearest example in history of the Lord marking those
who are His and protecting them from danger.
In the spiritual world the mark is a sign that
the marked person belongs to the Lord and is off limits
to anyone else.
Have You Been Marked?
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the
word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having
believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the
promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our
inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s
possession—to the praise of his glory (Ephes
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in
Christ. He anointed us,
set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in
our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come
(2 Cor. 1:21-22).
In these two passages Paul revealed
that all born again believers were marked at the time
they believed to show that they belong to the Lord.
It's the spiritual equivalent of a rancher
branding his cattle with his mark of ownership.
The presence of this mark will protect us like it
has protected others He has marked throughout history.
They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the
living and true God, and
to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the
dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1
But in our case, the mark doesn't
just protect us from the judgment taking place around
us, it qualifies us to be removed from the judgment
altogether. The Greek word translated from in the last
phrase of the above passage means we'll be separated
(distanced) from both the time and the place of the
Peter used the example of Lot to describe this.
(Note the similarity in the wording of 1 Thes. 1:9-10
above and 2 Peter 2:7,9 below).
If The Lord
rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the
filthy lives of lawless men, then He knows how to rescue
godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for
the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment
(2 Peter 2:7,9). The angels sent to destroy Sodom
and Gomorrah couldn't do so until they had Lot safely
out of the way (Genesis 9:15-16, 22).
This mark can only be received on
an individual or personal basis.
What I mean is we're not marked because we're
part of the Church, we're part of the Church because
we're marked. The concept of collective salvation is not
Nor is it possible for a person with God's mark to
transfer its benefits to someone with out it.
Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear
God has stated this in no uncertain
terms. In speaking of the judgment about to fall on the
Southern Kingdom he had Ezekiel say;
“Son of man, if a country sins against me by being
unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut
off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its
men and their animals,
even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it,
they could save only themselves by their righteousness,
declares the Sovereign
Notice He didn't have Ezekiel say,
“If my people ...”.
He said “If a country ...”. Literally it means,
“When the Earth ...”.
This tells me He was giving us a general
principle applicable to all nations, not one that would
only apply to Israel, as is the case with promises like
2 Chronicles 7:14 and Jeremiah 29:11.
If any country persists in going
against the will of God and doing things He has
forbidden, and He determines to judge that country,
the believers in it, no matter how righteous they
may be, can only
In Ezekiel 14:15-20 He repeatedly said
that even if their own sons and daughters would be
affected by the judgment, the prayers of these righteous
men could not save them. They could save only themselves
by their righteousness.
(Rev. 7:1-8 shows the
marking of certain individuals will happen one final
time after the Church is gone when the Lord will put His
seal on the foreheads of His 144,000 servants to protect
them from the coming Trumpet and Bowl judgments.
And once again His mark will only protect those
to whom it will be given.)
Why Are You Doing That?
There is a currently popular trend
in the US where groups of believers have been offering
prayers of repentance on behalf of our country in an
effort to stay the hand of God's judgment.
But the Lord had Ezekiel tell us this would not
If any nation continues to defy God by going
against His ways, that nation will be judged and the
prayers of the righteous people in it will only benefit
Only those who have received the mark of God will be
Proponents of repenting on behalf
of our country use the examples of Jonah and Daniel to
support their position.
I've written about Jonah in the past, showing how
in that case every person in Nineveh, from the King to
the lowliest servant, repented by clothing themselves in
sackcloth and fasting (Jonah 3:6-9) in a united
effort to avoid the judgment. It was not a case of a few
repenting on behalf of the others. They were all
repenting. Every one of them.
Those who propose Daniel's prayer
on behalf of Israel in support of this don't understand
that his case was not reflective of our situation
According to Daniel's own account, he was only reminding
God of something He had already publicly promised to do;
In the first year of Darius son
of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over
the Babylonian kingdom—in the first year of his reign,
I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to
the word of the
Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the
desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years (Daniel
Daniel had read the Book of
Jeremiah, written almost 70 years earlier.
knew that the time of captivity was nearly over and that
God had already promised to deliver them.
“This whole country will become a desolate wasteland,
and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy
years.” (Jeremiah 25:11)
This is what the
Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for
Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious
promise to bring you back to this place” (Jeremiah
And as for the claim that Daniel's
prayer brought Cyrus the Persian to conquer Babylon and
free the Jews, Isaiah had foretold this 200 years
previously, even naming Cyrus by name.
In the message given through Isaiah, God called
Cyrus His anointed (chosen one) and included a detailed
description of the plan by which Cyrus would conquer
Babylon without a battle (Isaiah 45:1-7).
Jewish tradition holds that Daniel
showed this portion of the scroll of Isaiah to Cyrus
following the fall of Babylon.
In response Cyrus ordered the Jewish captives to
be set free.
This was not something prompted by Daniel's prayer, it
had been God's published plan all along.
Where the judgment of the US is
concerned God has offered no prophecy of duration and no
promise of restoration.
And now enough people have voted to continue on
the path of rebellion to confirm the futility of
offering prayers of repentance on behalf of our country.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Since I believe we're at the End of
the Age and that the US has no official role to play in
bringing about God's Kingdom, I see a future where the
US continues to decline in power and influence while
increasingly become centered in the Middle East.
I think the election results tell us God's plan
for the End Times is right on schedule and there will be
no more delay.
Therefore, I believe we should
continue living each day by trusting in the Lord and
longing for His appearing to take us home.
We should stop worrying about our life here and
focus our time, our talents, and our treasure on
preparing for our life to come (Matt. 6:19-34).
And above all, we should remember that while
there's no such thing as repenting on behalf of our
country, there is such a thing as asking the Holy Spirit
to soften the hearts of our unsaved loved ones toward
repenting for themselves.
While there is no collective salvation, there are
untold millions of cases where the destinies of
individuals have been changed through the prayers of
others. I know because I'm one of them.
Every idol in our lives is being
Believing in our country, our leaders, our economy, our
bank accounts or even ourselves is proving to be
The only one left to believe in is God, and that's just
the way He wants it.
Trust in the Lord
with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he
will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:4-6).
You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.