Successful Secession in the Bible and History
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Let My People Go!
“So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me’.” Exodus 10:3
The nation of Israel grew out of secession from Egypt. In the Bible, a nation is an ethnolinguistic people group with a shared faith. The Scriptures make it clear that the Hebrews remained Hebrews, even after 480 years in Egypt. They never became Egyptians. We are not geographic accidents, but demographic descendants. The Scripture emphasises that all the families of the nations of the earth are to sing the praises of the Creator in every language and tongue. “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your Blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9
The Secession of the Ten Northern Tribes of Israel from Judah and Benjamin
This Is of the Lord
“So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day… There was none who followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.” 1 Kings 12:19-20. When king Rehoboam assembled 180,000 warriors to fight against the house of Israel to restore the United Kingdom, God stopped them, declaring that this secession was of Him.
You Shall Not Fight Against Your Brethren
“But the Word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, ‘Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: ‘You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.’ Therefore they obeyed the Word of the Lord, and turned back, according to the Word of the Lord.” 1 Kings 12:22-24
All Authority is Limited, Delegated and Accountable
The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate
The Reformers taught that if the central government is corrupt, wicked and oppressive, then the lesser magistrates have the duty to resist. Provincial governors, mayors and magistrates may and must resist and suppress tyrants in central government. Rulers are not permitted to rule for their own self-interests. If central government fails in their promises and duties, the people are exempt from obedience and taxes, the contract is null and void.
The Duties of Civil Government
Confusion About What a Nation Is
Unfortunately, many today are confused about the concept of nations. This could be because there are a group of state representatives in New York calling themselves the “United Nations”. Of course, most of them have no legitimacy at all. The United Nations is the largest collection of unelected dictators, mass murderers, drug traffickers and human traffickers on the planet. Most of them are actually gangsters with flags.
“One Nation Under God, Indivisible…”
The United States deludes itself that it is “one nation under God, indivisible…”. Why 50 states in a voluntary union should be considered indivisible, seems incomprehensible to most of us. Yet, Americans are expected to make this pledge on a regular basis. Abraham Lincoln waged a ruinous war in which over 650,000 people died to preserve the union of what was meant to be a confederation. Since that War between the States concluded in 1865, America has become more and more centralised with central government overruling state governments on such matters as legalised abortion and state mandated education.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
When the Soviet Union (USSR) broke up, this was considered a good thing and there was much rejoicing as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia and many others seceded from the Union – the Soviet Union. It is a good thing for freedom that the Soviet Union was not indivisible!
The Destructive Legacy of Versailles
There never was such a concept as Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia before the vindictive and destructive Versailles Treaty of 1919 and those entities do not exist today either. They were bad ideas from the beginning. Free and independent nations have broken away from those empires. Yugoslavia, meaning the land of the South Slavs, included Slovenia and Croatia, who definitely are not Slavic, formerly part of the Austrian empire and with Germanic language and culture. However, from 1945 to 1989, the fragile political entity called Yugoslavia was composed of six republics, five nationalities, four languages, three major religions, two alphabets, but only one political party – communist. Another kaleidoscope nation created by the Versailles Treaty, Czechoslovakia, did not long survive the fall of the Iron Curtain and the withdrawal of Soviet armies of occupation. In 1993, Slovakia seceded from Czechoslovakia, peacefully after a referendum.
Successful Secessions in History – Switzerland
Switzerland seceded from Austria in 1291. Inspired by the story of expert marksman William Tell, who refused to bow before the hat of Albrecht Gessler, raised on a pole in the market square of Altdorf. When William Tell refused to bow, Gessler’s cruel wrath, mixed with a curiosity to test William Tell’s legendary marksmanship, commanded him to shoot an apple off his son’s head with his crossbow bolt. When William Tell succeeded in splitting an apple with his arrow, saving the life of both his son and himself, Gessler asked why he had readied two arrows. William Tell stated that if he had missed with the first, then he would not have missed with the second, in Gessler’s heart! Enraged, Gessler had William Tell arrested and taken by boat across Lake Lucerne to Kussnacht, to spend the rest of his life in a dungeon. A fierce storm enabled William Tell to escape to shore, where he later ambushed and killed Gessler with an arrow, launching the young confederacy’s secession from Austrian rule. The first three cantons which formed the Swiss confederacy, 1291, were Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden. The oldest republic in the world, Switzerland now consists of 26 cantons.
An Island of Peace on a Continent Often Torn by War
Despite Switzerland occupying the crossroads of Germanic and Romansh Europe, as reflected in its form of linguistic and cultural regions, German, French, Italian and Romansh, its confederal, decentralised, direct democracy policy of armed neutrality, enabled Switzerland to stay out of the ruinous world wars. Despite French, Germans and Italians killing one another by the hundreds-of-thousands, Switzerland successfully protected its territorial integrity and stayed out of the conflicts.
Caring for Its Neighbours
Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world’s oldest and best known humanitarian organisations and is home to many international organisations and missions which have brought relief to suffering prisoners during the World Wars and provided sanctuary for those fleeing from those colossal conflicts.
An Example of Excellence
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries of the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the highest per capita Gross Domestic Product in the world. In terms of quality of life, three cities of Geneva have been ranked amongst the ten top cities in the world: Zurich, Geneva and Basel. Switzerland is an example of excellence of how people of different nationalities, languages and religious affiliations can live together in peace and harmony – by decentralisation, referendums and Landsgemeinde – community gatherings.
American Independence and Magna Carta
The United States of America seceded from Great Britain in 1776. Demanding their chartered rights as Englishmen under Magna Carta of 1215, the thirteen colonies constitute themselves as the United States of America with their Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776. They maintained that as the English government had failed to protect them and provide their rights, as guaranteed by Magna Carta, 1215, they were absolved of allegiance to the British government in London.
Other Successful Secessions
Led by Prince William of Orange, the Netherlands seceded from Spain, beginning in 1568.
Belgium later seceded from the Netherlands in 1830.
Texas seceded from Mexico in 1836. The Battle of the Alamo (23 February – 6 March 1836) was a pivotal event in the war of independence for Texas. The cruelty and arbitrary lawlessness of president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, led other Texans to rise up and defeat the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, 21 April 1836, securing the independence of Texas from Mexico.
Nicaragua seceded from Guatemala in 1838.
Norway seceded from Sweden in 1905. Price Carl of Denmark was unanimously elected King by the Norwegian parliament, the first king of a fully independent Norway in 508 years. He took the name Haakon VII. A national referendum confirmed the people’s preference for a monarchy over a republic and the peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden was effected on 7 June 1905.
Finland seceded from Russia in 1917. In reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution, which was tearing Russia apart, the Finns set up their own parliament which declared independence from Russia, 6 December 1917.
The Republic of Ireland seceded from Great Britain in 1922.
Pakistan seceded from India in 1947.
Taiwan seceded from China in 1949.
Singapore seceded from Malaysia in 1965 and has turned an unpromising island swamp into one of the most potent economic powerhouses in Asia.
Bangladesh seceded from Pakistan in 1970.
Namibia seceded from South Africa in 1990.
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia seceded from Russia in 1991.
Croatia and Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991.
Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1991.
Slovakia seceded from Czechoslovakia in 1993.
East Timor seceded from Indonesia in 2002.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011.
The Nuba of South Kordofan are at this moment fighting for their independence from Sudan and
The Kurds of Turkey, Iraq and Iran are seeking their own country of Kurdistan.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1