Tag Archives: Jewish Law

Bill Lockwood: The Bible and Slavery 5 (1)

by Bill Lockwood

The 1619 Project, sponsored by the New York Times, is a series of essays and multimedia creations designed to “reframe American history” by claiming America’s founding is based on racism and slavery instead of freedom and liberty. The chief writer for the project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, calls white people “savages” “bloodsuckers” and “murderers” who used Christianity as an excuse to enslave different peoples of the world. Her vitriol, which seems to know no bounds, is now being picked up by many others who are concerned about slavery in America’s history.

A slave is considered to be a person owned by another, without rights, and—like property—to be used and disposed of in whatever way the owner may wish. 1 The Encyclopedia of Religion defines slavery as “[A] social and industrial system in which the person and labor of one individual may be disposed of as the property of another.” 2

Setting aside Hannah-Jones’ ignorant vilification of “white people” as the sole perpetrators of this institution, as well as her abysmal lack of knowledge of American history, what is particularly concerning here is that she assails the Bible in her diatribes as somehow teaching the practice of chattel slavery.

What Does the Bible Actually Teach Regarding Slavery?

Moses writes by inspiration that are human beings are created in “the image of God” (Gen. 1:26-27; 9:6). Of all the philosophies of the world, this Divine assertion alone gives all men and women equal dignity. All persons are equal in value to one another. Life itself is a gift of God.

Placing man in the Garden of Eden, God ordered him to “dress the garden and keep it” as well as to “eat of the fruit” which he gathered (Gen. 2:15). These commands imply freedom as well as the right to property. “Thou shalt not steal” is built into the very foundations of the created order.

From these simple premises it is easy to see that God never intended one human being to be the property of another. However, as is the case with polygamy which departed from the marriage institution that God created (Gen. 2:24)— mankind departed sharply from God’s design.

Separated from God men have concocted many schemes which ignore these plain biblical ideals, particularly regarding the value of human life. Aristotle, for example, developed the theory that some persons were servile by their very nature. 3 The school of philosophy known as Stoicism later considered slavery as a mere accident of fortune and therefore it was not a just cause about which one could complain.

The ancient world was actually steeped in slavery, whether it be the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, or Roman world—all practiced slavery. As Everett Ferguson writes, “Slavery was pervasive in ancient civilization.” Thomas C. Edwards, in his superb commentary on the book of 1 Corinthians, notes that the practice of slavery actually sprang from a rejection of God’s Word regarding the dignity of man. “Slavery was an institution that sprang from other fundamental ideas—namely, the superiority of men over women; the religious preeminence of Jew over Gentile; the Greek consciousness of creative political genius …” 4 It was the devaluing of human life that brought about slavery.


1 The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, vol. 3, p. 1462. 2 Ed. Vergilius Ferm, p. 714. 3 Everett Ferguson, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, 854 4 Commentary on 1 Corinthians, p. 182.


Old Testament

Slavery was almost universally practiced in all cultures during Old Testament times. Men and women were enslaved by capture in war (1 Sam. 4:9) or by purchase (Gen. 17:12-13, 27). The Law allowed Hebrews to purchase slaves from foreigners at home or abroad (Lev. 25:44ff). Children born “into the house” of slave-parents were evidently called “house-born slaves” (Gen. 17:12-13).

Interestingly, slavery could be entered by other methods as well. God legislated that if a convicted thief could not make “restitution” and pay his damages and/or fines, money could be raised for this purpose by selling him as a slave (Ex. 22:3). This law showed that slavery involved the production or labor of a person was considered to be his property, which now became the property of the one wronged.

The insolvent debtor, as well as his family, became enslaved to the creditor (2 Kings 4:1). It was also possible for one to sell himself and his labor to escape poverty (Lev. 25:39-43).

However, there are some important considerations that the Old Testament includes. First, in the case of the insolvent debtor, he was not to be treated as a chattel slave, but as a “hired servant” and to be released at the Year of Jubilee (every 50 years on the Jewish calendar) (Lev. 25:39-43). The person who purchased him was instructed “not to rule over him with rigor, but shalt fear thy God.”

Second, to abduct a person and to reduce a stolen person to slavery was punishable by death (Ex. 21:16). Third, to murder a slave was punishable by death (Ex. 21:20; Lev. 24:17,22). The reason for this is once again because of the intrinsic value of a human being. Fourth, the enslaved debtor was to be released after six years (Ex. 21:2). There was no lifetime enslavement.

God, in the Old Testament, taking men where they were, regulated the practice of slavery and softened the edge of it. Contrast that with Roman law whereby a slave is not considered a person.

Old Testament scholar K.A. Kitchen summarizes the spirit of the Old Testament.

Generally, a more humane spirit breathes through the OT laws and customs on slavery, as illustrated by the repeated injunctions in God’s name not to rule over a brother Israelite harshly (e.g. Lev. 25:43,46,53,55; Dt. 15:14ff). Even when Hebrew law and custom on slaves shares in the common heritage of the ancient Semitic world, there is this unique care in God’s name for these people who by status were not people, something absent from the law codes of Babylon or Assyria. 5


 5 The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, vol. 3, p. 1464.


The New Testament

When asked about marriage, our Lord refers questioners back to the beginning and God’s initial intention with the sacred institution (Matt. 19:3-9). In similar fashion the New Testament elevates the dignity of man (Jas. 3:9) by carrying him back to God’s created order. The beautiful principles of Christianity, influencing cultures one heart at a time, eventually eradicated the practice of slavery by re-asserting the value of human beings.

It is important to see however, that New Testament teaching did not smash with a sledge-hammer one single social institution that had imbedded itself in society. Instead, the doctrine of Christ works as a leaven in the soul of individuals, nations, and cultures. Slavery was one of those institutions.

This explains why the inspired apostles, when discussing the the question of slavery, not only advise masters and slaves how to behave in their particular life-situations, but address themselves to the deep antagonisms in the social world. This will be brought out below.

A cursory reading of the NT might cause one to think that sometimes the apostles seem to sanction slavery; at other times to proclaim its abolition—in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female; all are one man in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28).

But Christianity abolishes slavery by assimilating and sanctifying the relation of master and servant in its inmost nature. While it refuses to wield the sword and destroy civil institutions by violence, it so transforms their ruling ideas that those institutions become what they never were before. For instance, Christ bestows on the most degraded and despised slave who is a believer, spiritual endowments that cannot fail to inspire him with a consciousness of freedom. He ceases to be a slave by the very fact of knowing that in the sight of God he is free, and his service ceases to be a bondage because it is now a willing obedience to Christ. 6

What about those deep antagonisms that exist in all societies between different peoples? Paul’s overall theme in teaching is summarized in 1 Corinthians 7:10-24 which might be entitled, Live in Harmony with One Another. Like several NT passages in which slaves and masters are addressed, and who were part of local congregations to which the apostles ministered 7 some of the Corinthians were slaves and some were slave-owners. How did God counsel them?

“Let each man abide in that calling wherein he was called. Were you called being a slave? Care not for it [that is, do not be overly concerned with your social condition. Your calling in Christ ECLIPSES this consideration]. Even if you can be free, use it rather …” (7:20-21).

The phrase “use it rather” following “even if you can be free” has been variously interpreted. It is either interpreted as (1) “… use your freedom,” or, (2) “use slavery …” Many modern commentators, and even the translators of the NIV, consider the phrase to be saying, “if you can gain your freedom, do so” –opting for the first alternative.

But it seems out of character with the theme of the entire section which is to Live in Harmony—even in challenging situations. Further, the next line in the passage (v. 22) begins with the word “for”—which is explanatory of that which has just been said. “FOR, he that was called in the Lord, being a slave, is the Lord’s freedman …” That explanation does not follow if Paul has just said, “if you can become free, do so.”

As John Peter Lange points out in his classic commentary, the “whole drift of the argument is—to make men content with their lot …” 8 That being the case, the translation is, “but even though you may be made free, use your servitude rather [as a means of discipline, and an opportunity for glorifying God by showing fidelity therein].”


6 Edwards, p. 186 7 See Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-4:1; 1 Pet. 2:18ff. 8 Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Vol. 10, p. 153.


In any case, the main point should not be lost on us. The important thing is to serve God “and the slave should not worry unduly about the fact that he is a slave. If God has called him as a slave, He will give him grace to live as a slave.” 9

F.W. Grosheide understands the verse as simply saying, Use your vocation—whether slave or free. 10 The entire argument of Paul is that the over-riding concern for the Christian is that of spiritual blessings “in Christ”, and this outweighs all other concerns—including slavery! The dominant factor is being a Christian.

How does this fit within the current context of so many churches and Christians all at once becoming extremely exercised about black slavery in history, or stirred to the point of anger about discrimination in the Jim Crow era? How does Paul’s advice comport with emotionally driven screeds today that demand a removal of a Christians’ name from Christian college buildings because those preachers lived during the segregation era but did not stomp it out with vengeance?

Onesimus

An interesting New Testament episode involves the runaway slave Onesimus. Paul met him while a prisoner in Rome (circa 63-64 A.D.), converted him to Christ, and sent him back to his owner, Philemon, a Christian man who lived in Colossae. A cover letter was sent with the returned slave (Col. 4:7,9). It is the book of Philemon.

In it Paul admonishes Philemon to “receive him back” and treat him no longer as a slave, but as a brother in Christ. “Not now as a slave, but more than slave, a brother beloved specially to me, but how much more unto you, both in the flesh and in the Lord?” (16) It is noteworthy that Paul does not command Philemon to “free him” but appeals to him on the basis of brotherhood. It is also worth mentioning that Paul actually sent Onesimus back to his slave master.

Once again, Christianity revolutionizes and changes the world, but not by pouring out into the streets, holding a nation hostage with violence and smashing its cultural symbols. It does so with the teaching of the peace of Jesus Christ.

Summary

John Peter Lange summarizes the entire disposition of biblical Christianity to slavery. Christ and his followers “assailed no existing social institutions from without—marriages, callings, and conditions were to remain as they were.” Christianity wrought “from within” a “sanctifying and ennobling” influence over individual character.

Biblical principles “employed the existing bonds of society as conductors through which to diffuse its saving power—sanctifying wives through husbands, and husbands through wives, children through parents, and parents through children; and even servants through masters and masters through servants.”

Further, as seen above, Christianity aims at the preservation of peace in a society—as far as possible—in consistency with being faithful to God (See Rom. 12:17-21). Christ wants us to “ignore outward distinctions—counting outward distinctions as of little moment, in comparison with the inward state.” How our society needs this lesson! What a difference this would make to the writers of the New York Times and the 1619 Project!


9 Leon Morris, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, 1 Corinthians, p. 113. 10 NICNT, 1 Corinthians, p. 170.


Christ’s teachings “begot contentment with the outward estate, by imparting a blessing which more than counterbalanced all earthly ill.” Not only so, but the Lord Jesus “reconciled the opposite poles of human condition, freedom and obligation in the love it engendered, making the slave a freeman, and putting the freeman under obligations to serve, and making all alike free, and all alike obligated.”

Finally, the Bible places “all in the presence of God, in whose sight it constrained believers to live; whose honor it urged all to sub-serve, and from whom it invited all to derive their chief good.” 11

The gospel brings to mankind a belief and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Faithfulness is commanded which involves the improvement of one’s character which in turn improves the conditions of society. When people place the glory of God foremost, not only is slavery eradicated as a social condition, but it is seen to be a very little thing in the ultimate scheme of things. It is past time for people to come to Christ and lift themselves above the grievances of slavery past or racism present.


11 Lange, p. 156.


 

Bill Lockwood: “Bring on the Lions!” — Homosexual Agenda Seeks to Destroy Christianity 0 (0)

by Bill Lockwood

Several years ago a relative of mine was in a major northeastern city for a short visit and it so happened that a “Gay Pride” parade was occurring. Shocking as it seems, some of the marchers were carrying signs that read: “Bring on the Lions!” That, of course, referred to the extermination of Christians after the order of the ancient bloody Roman Empire and presented a completely different picture of the Homosexual Goal for America than the MSM would like for you to see.

The entire political & cultural battle today may be boiled down to a War on God by the political left, which is being driven by the Homosexual Agenda. Nothing can be clearer than this. Even Islam joins with homosexuals—for now–in this same goal of eradication of Christianity. Read the text of the Democratic Party’s so-called Equality Act (H.R. 5) and be in the dark no more. It completely eradicates The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), originally passed in 1993, let alone respect the First Amendment which promised that the federal government is FORBIDDEN to touch religious speech and freedom.

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et. seq.) shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application of enforcement of a covered title.”

The RFRA began as a reaction following a 1990 Supreme Court decision (Employment Division v. Smith) which concerned Christians that religious liberty might be threatened. This resulted in a huge national movement of Christians to protect their God-given rights.

How does this link to the Homosexual Agenda? GrasstopsUSA re-published a portion of homosexual activist Michael Swift’s Manifesto from 1987. For a real stomach-turner, read the entire text on Fordham University’s website entitled, “Michael Swift, ‘Gay Revolutionary,’” reprinted from the Congressional Record itself.

We shall sodomize your sons, emblems of your feeble masculinity … Your sons shall become our minions and do our bidding … All laws banning homosexual activity will be revoked. Instead, legislation shall be passed which engenders love between men… There will be no compromises … All churches who condemn us will be closed … All males who insist on remaining stupidly heterosexual will be tried in homosexual courts of justice … Tremble, hetero swine, when we appear before you without our masks.

As Grassroots correctly stated, “Disguised as a measure to extend civil rights protections” to homosexuals and “transgendered individuals,” H.R. 5 actually “forces every man, women and child in the United States to not simply accept anti-biblical behaviors but to actively affirm them under penalty of law.”

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo, a homosexual Opinion Writer for USA Today and who wishes to “outlaw” “conversion therapy”, while claiming to be “libertarian,” headlines the following, “Gay Conservative: Equality Act would crush religious freedom. Trump is right to oppose it.”

Polumbo calls the “Equality Act,” “the landmark LGBT rights bill.” “From my vantage point as a gay conservative, I can see that the Equality Act goes too far for any level-headed gay rights advocate to support, and its blatant disregard for the basic right to religious freedom is appalling.”

The bill purports to protect LGBT Americans like me by prohibiting discrimination ‘based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit and the jury system.’ On the surface, this sounds unobjectionable—after all, no one deserves to face discrimination. Yet the bill defined ‘public accommodations’ so loosely and called for regulations so sweeping that it would crush religious freedom and radically reshape American society.

Polumbo warns that “The Equality Act could potentially see houses of worship deemed ‘public accommodations’ and subjected to anti-discrimination law. It would also declare any hospital or establishment providing medical services a ‘public accommodation,’ which would include religious organization and hospitals.”

Steve Warren

Homosexual activist Steven Warren issued in 1987 a “Warning to homophobes.” In it he stated that homosexuality will be spoken of in your churches and synagogues as an “honorable estate” and “you can either let us marry people of the same sex, or better yet abolish marriage altogether.”

Throwing down the gauntlet to Christianity, he warned, “You will be expected to offer ceremonies that bless our sexual arrangements” and you will “instruct your people in homosexual as well as heterosexual behavior, and you will go out of your way to make certain that homosexual youths are allowed to date, attend religious functions together, openly display affection, and enjoy each others’ sexuality without embarrassment or guilt.”

If the older people object “you will deal with them sternly, making certain they renounce their ugly and ignorant homophobia or suffer public humiliation.” “Finally, we will in all likelihood, want to expunge a number of passages from your Scriptures and rewrite others …”

The final warning: “If all these things do not come to pass quickly, we will subject Orthodox Jews and Christians to the most sustained hatred and vilification in recent memory.”

Bring on the Lions.

Bill Lockwood: True Religion Results in Free-Will Giving: Not Jizya or Socialistic Forcible Taxation & Redistribution 0 (0)

by Bill Lockwood

By speaking of the reign of Solomon (970-931 B.C.), which was a foreshadowing of Christ’s kingdom, the Psalmist in chapter 72 depicts the expansive coming reign as being from “sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth” (72:8). During this reign of the Messiah the kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts (10).

Charles Spurgeon, the matchless commentator on the Psalms, observed at these verses,

…true religion leads to generous giving; we are not taxed in Christ’s dominions, but we are delighted to offer freely to him… This free-will offering is all Christ and his church desire; they want to forced levies and distraints [to seize by distress], let all men give of their own free will, kings as well as commoners; …

Free will offerings. This is the only giving known in the New Testament. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Let each man do according as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly, nor of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.” For this reason, Paul writes the letter and encourages by persuasion the churches to freely give. How beautiful is this precedent compared to other systems and man-made religions and systems!

Compare Giving to Islamic Jizya

Mohammed absolutely established that people of other religious persuasions must pay a poll tax to Muslims called the jizya. This was specifically that they might recognize they were inferior to Muslims. “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29).

From the religionofpeace.com website:

Traditionally the collection of the jizya occurs at a ceremony that is designed to emphasize the subordinate status of the non-Muslim, where the subject is often struck in a humiliating fashion. M.A. Khan recounts that some Islamic clerics encouraged tax collectors to spit into the mouths of Hindu dhimmis during the process. He also quotes the popular Sufi teacher, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi:

The honor of Islam lies in insulting the unbelief and the unbelievers (kafirs). One who respects kafirs dishonors Muslims… The real purpose of levying the Jizya on them is to humiliate them… [and] they remain terrified and trembling.

The jizya (or extortion) is one of the main cornerstones of the entire system of Islam. It institutionalizes forever the fact that, in the eyes of Muslims, non-Muslims have an inferior status in Muslim nations.

Another example is this that there is no way to live peaceably with Islam. Where it has dominated a culture, it has exacted a forcible toll on all non-Muslim peoples throughout the centuries—without exception. As it develops and engulfs a culture, Islam is designed to extinguish all Kafir civilizations. It is but a reflection of Mohammed himself who did not stop the conquering of Arabia until 100% of his demands were met.

This is just one example that demonstrates that Islam is not a religion of God, depending upon thoughtful reasoning and persuasion by argumentation; but a man-made totalitarian system relying solely upon force. When one comes out of the dank dungeon of Islam, and stands upon the mountaintops of Christianity, he is able to breathe the clean fresh air of a religion of the heart whose founder, Jesus Christ, never used violence or force to subjugate man, but died on the cross for the sins of the world.

Compare Giving to Socialism or Social Justice

Social Justice is not simply doing humanitarian acts of kindness as Buckley and Dobson suppose in Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross. “The Social Gospel asks Christians to be concerned and invested in the world around them” (p. 42). The authors suggest that the entire issue is about whether first to give a tract or a sandwich to those in need? (p. 43) This is ignorance as to what is social justice or socialism.

The great author and thinker Thomas Sowell explains: “Central to the concept of social justice is the notion that individuals are entitled to some share in the wealth produced by society, and irrespective of any individual contributions made or not made to the production of that wealth.” (A Conflict of Visions, 216)

But if all people in society are entitled to a share in that which I produce, how shall this be enforced? For this reason, socialism by definition implies the “expansion of the government domain to produce social results to which particular individuals are morally entitled.”

So states The National Association of Scholars. The term “social justice”, or socialism, they explain, is today understood to mean the “advocacy of egalitarian access to income through state-sponsored redistribution.”

But state-sponsored redistribution of my production begins with theft. Forcible removing from me of the fruits of my own production to give to others. This is not even remotely associated with the free-will giving taught by Christianity. If it is, why must there be a gigantic state to enforce it?

The French writer, Frederic Bastiat was correct therefore to explain socialism as plunder.

See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. . . It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder. (Bastiat, The Law, p. 17).

That the above has already occurred in America is obvious. The evil is already upon us. A gigantic welfare state. Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul summarizes it well.

From lower-income Americans who rely on food stamps, public housing, and other government programs, to middle-class Americans who live in homes they could not afford without assistance from federal agencies like Fannies Mae and Freddie Mac, to college students reliant on government-subsidized student loans, to senior citizens reliant on Social Security and Medicare, to billionaire CEOs whose companies rely on bailouts, subsidies, laws and regulations written to benefit politically-powerful businesses, and government contracts, most Americans are reliant on at least one federal program. (Dec. 31, 2018. Ronpaulinstitute.org)

Make no mistake. The Welfare State is nothing akin to the free-will giving of Christianity. Once again, instead of relying on force to confiscate and redistribute, the early church in the book of Acts willingly and freely gave of their possessions to assist others (Acts 2:43-47; 5:1-4). There is a world of difference between the Bible and the systems of man.

Bill Lockwood: Democrats: The Anti-God Party of Karl Marx? 0 (0)

by Bill Lockwood

Several recent agendas pushed by the Democrat Party indicate that they are not only the anti-America Party which pushes for Open Borders and a larger socialist confiscation/redistribution program than already exists, but are aggressively adversarial when it comes to belief in God. From chiding judicial nominees who believe in God to removing ‘so help me God’ from oaths—the Democrat Party is adopting the mantle of atheism.

Sen. Cory Booker, for example, recently asked judicial nominee Neomi Rao if she believed that same-sex relationships were immoral. Rao has been nominated to be on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She would replace Brett Kavanaugh if confirmed.

Booker pressed her. “So you’re not willing to say here … whether you believe it is sinful for two men to be married, you’re not willing to comment on that?”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Amy Coney Barrett, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” in a 2017 hearing. Barret was then a nominee for the 7th Circuit Court. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said to Barrett in that same hearing: “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.

Brian Buescher was nominated to be on a district court in Nebraska. His membership in the Catholic Knights of Columbus was something that brought out the hostility of Democrat Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA). The thought patterns of these prominent Democrats is obviously that any sort of Christian belief is a hindrance to public service.

Removing “So Help You God”

Next, as reported by The Hill, the newly-minted Democrat-led House Committee on Natural Resources is seeking to have the words “so help you God” removed from the oath cited by witnesses who testify before the panel. The proposal was originally obtained by Fox News.

The rules proposal states that witnesses that come before the committee during its hearings would be administered the following oath: ‘Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under penalty of law, that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth [so help you God]? According to Fox News, the “so help you God” phrasing is in brackets in red in the draft and indicates that the words are slated for removal.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) probably summarized this Democrat-led move with the best critique: “It is incredible, but not surprising, that the Democrats would try to remove God from committee proceedings in one of the first acts in the majority…They really have become the party of Karl Marx.”

Art. VI. Sec. 3–No Religious Test

Some may suppose that these godless Democrats are in line with the Constitution at Art. VI, sec. 3 which forbids a “religious test” for public officers in government. But this is ignorant of the meaning of the Constitution.

Article VI of the Constitution gives Americans several General Provisions. One of them involves an “Official Oath” that is to be required of Senators and Representatives and all “executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states.” They shall be “bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution, but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

First, there is to be an ‘oath’ of office. What seems to have escaped the modernist anti-theism approach is that the very nature of an oath assumes that the one giving that oath believes in God. By definition an oath is a solemn “calling upon God to witness the truth of what one says.” In effect it is to say: If I am not telling the truth then I call upon God to strike me down or to punish me

This is why Washington, when taking the first oath of presidential office, added “so help me God.” In the Old Testament an oath was to be taken in God’s name for the same purpose. To “take the Lord’s name in vain” (Exod. 20:7) then, is making a profession in “God’s name” and failing to live up to that profession. Primarily, this involved a legal oath. By extension the command meant “You shall not use the name of God, either in oaths or in common discourse, lightly, rashly, irreverently, or unnecessarily, or without weighty or sufficient cause” (Matthew Henry).

Obviously, by the flippant and irreverent manner in which Americans misuse the name of God has muddied their thinking about Deity and the very nature of an oath. And none are more confused than the Democrats who press for an “oath” without realizing the nature of it.

Second, the oath is itself is a recognition of God. James Iredell, a Justice of the State Supreme Court of North Carolina (1751-1799), during the founding period, commented on Article VI in the following manner.

According to the modern definition of an oath, it is considered a ‘solemn appeal to the supreme being, for the truth of what is said, by a person who believes in the existence of a supreme being and in a future state of rewards and punishments according to that form which will bind his conscience most.’ It was long held that … none but Jews and Christians could take an oath; and heathens were altogether excluded…Men at length considered that there were many virtuous men in the world who had not had an opportunity of being instructed either in the Old or New Testament, who yet very sincerely believed in a supreme being, and in a future state of rewards and punishments…. Indeed, there are few people so grossly ignorant or barbarous as to have no religion at all.

We have reached the point at which the “barbarians” are now running the government from the Democrat side. Iredell explained further pertaining to the oath:

…it is only necessary to inquire if the person who is to take it [the oath] believes in a supreme being and in a future state of rewards and punishments. If he does, the oath is to be administered according to that form which it is supposed will bind his conscience most. It is, however, necessary that such a belief should be entertained, because otherwise there would be nothing to bind his conscience that could be relied on; since there are many cases where the terror of punishment in this world for perjury would not be dreaded.

Third, what then of the No Religious Test? Article VI also states that “there shall be no religious test.” Many of the colonies were established by groups of people who subscribed to certain tenets of various faiths—that is, branches of Protestantism (see Thomas Norton, The Constitution of the United States, 183-84). Their state oaths would automatically exclude at a state level those who had contrary views.

But when it came to the federal government these same delegates insisted that it had no jurisdiction over religious matters. They were particularly fearful that a “federal test might displace existing state test oaths and religious establishments” (David Barton, “A Godless Constitution?: A Response to Kramnick and Moore,” Wallbuilders.com). In other words, the framers believed that religion was a matter better left to individuals and to their respective state governments, not to the federal government. No religious test primarily referred to the various exclusive doctrinal tests at the state level and kept the federal government in a neutral position.

However, whether one believed in God or did not subscribe to general biblical principles was far from what was intended in Art. VI, sec. 3. The idea that America might one day become a “godless state” as the current Democrat Party embodies was not in the framer’s minds. As Richard Dobbs Spaight (1758-1802), a representative from North Carolina to the Constitutional Convention, put it: “I do not suppose an infidel or any such person will ever be chosen to any office unless the people themselves be of the same opinion.”

This is what makes the comments of the Cory Booker’s and Dianne Feinstein’s so distasteful. They are not even in a “neutral position.” Their anti-God agenda, which is reflected across the board in the Democratic Party, is open hostility against Christian principles. Little wonder then that the socialism of Karl Marx appeals to them. It begins upon an atheistic platform.

Eclipsing the Blood Moons 0 (0)

Eclipsing the Blood Moons: Part I

by Bill Lockwood

Extremely popular is the so-called “Blood Moon” theory taught by numerous so-called prophecy teachers, not the least of which is John Hagee of San Antonio. Astronomical charts show that four lunar eclipses will occur between 2014 to 2015. Sometimes the full lunar eclipse takes on a red or orange appearance. This is what Hagee calls “the blood moon.”

Hagee explains in a chart that the four “blood moons” include 1) Passover, April 15, 2014; 2) Feast of Tabernacles, Oct.8, 2014; 3) Passover, April 4, 2015; 4) Feast of Tabernacles, Sep. 28, 2015. (Four Blood Moons, 224-25). Hagee insists that “something is about to occur” in favor of the Jewish people at the fourth blood moon—the end of September, 2015. “These occurrences are not coincidental! This is the hand of God orchestrating the signs in the heavens. The final Four Blood Moons are signaling that something big is coming … something that will change the world forever” (p. 237).

What Shall We Say to These Things?

Those casting these ominous horoscopes for the world are afflicted by a particular theory which is responsible for their preachments. That theory is known as Premillennialism. Though there are minor variations given by different promoters, the scheme runs something like this. (1) The OT predicted that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom in which the Messiah would reign from Jerusalem. (2) When the Jews rejected Jesus he postponed those prophetic forecasts until He comes a second time. (3) Current conditions in the world show that that time is near upon us. (4) That saints are to be “raptured” to heaven at the beginning of a “Tribulation” period in which unprecedented wars upon the earth will occur. (5) At the height of this period Jesus will return and fight the “Battle of Armageddon.” (6) At the conclusion of these events Jesus will reign in Jerusalem during the Millennium.

In reality the entire fabric of Millennialism is entirely unscriptural. The theory is the same Jewish system of infidelity which interprets the entire corpus of Scripture after the manner of those who crucified Christ (1 Thess.2:14-16). Premillennialism is Jewish Doctrine. The ancient Jews rejected the Messiah of OT prophecy because they had interpreted its predictions in a naturalistic, literal manner. When Christ did not promise to be a military leader, making headquarters in Jerusalem, bringing Gentiles into their service, re-vitalizing their temple worship, and re-instituting David’s throne, they nationally repudiated him. He did not meet their expectations.

Judaism’s unbelief, throughout the centuries, has influenced Christianity to an astounding degree. This is particularly the case here. First, millennial doctrines themselves are Jewish misinterpretations. Eminent German church historian, August Neander, writes, “The idea of a millennial reign proceeded from Judaism. For among the Jews the representation was current, that the Messiah would reign a thousand years on earth, and then bring to a close the present terrestrial system. This calculation was arrived at, by a literal interpretation of Psalm 110:4 ‘a thousand years are in thy sight as one day.’ It was further argued that the World was created in six days, so it would last six thousand years, the seventh would e a period of repose, a Sabbath on earth to be followed by the destruction of the world” (History of Christian Dogmas, vol. 1, p. 248).

The classic work on Systematic Theology by the Presbyterian scholar Charles Hodge, substantiates this further. He offered the following as the number one objection to Premillennialism: “It is a JEWISH DOCTRINE. The principles adopted by its advocates in the interpretation of prophecy are the SAME as those adopted by the Jews at the time of Christ; and they have led substantially to the same conclusions.” Christ “disappointed these expectations: and the principles of prophetic interpretation on which those expectations were founded were proved to be incorrect” (Vol. 3, p. 862).

Ernest F. Kevan in Baker’s Dictionary of Theology (p. 532), argues the same point. “It is held that the OT prophets predicted the re-establishment of David’s kingdom and that Christ himself intended to bring this about. It is alleged, however, that because the Jews refused his person and work he postponed the establishment of his kingdom until the time of his return. Meanwhile, it is argued, the Lord gathered together ‘the church’ as a kind of interim measure.”

This basic fallacy of a materialistic view of the Christ’s kingdom is shared by Hagee and others of his premillennial tribe. The entire premise of the Blood Moon Theology is that past and future eclipses of the moon somehow coincide with the OT Jewish calendar and will be aligned with Jewish feast days and that “something big” will transpire in human history when this occurs.

But there is not one passage in all of the Bible that validates the idea that the OT Jewish feasts should be used as a timetable to determine anything future. Blood Moon Theology is without one shred of scriptural support. Furthermore, the NT shows us clearly that the OT law system was nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ (Col. 2:14-16). And just so that no one is confused on the subject of the moon, inspired Paul even mentions “feast days, new moons and Sabbath days” as things of the past.

The “Blood Moon” theory taught by John Hagee and other self-proclaimed “prophecy experts” informs us that “something big” is about to occur in behalf of the Jewish people in September, 2015.  This calculation is arrived at by studying the timing of the lunar eclipses during the past two years and noting their alignment with the Jewish Feasts of Tabernacles and Passover. The Blood Moon Theory, however, is totally without merit.

Postponement Theology

As an adjunct of Premillennial doctrine, the Blood Moon Fantasy is a “re-packaging” of the same old theories that have over and again been weighed in the balances and found wanting precisely because they lack biblical foundation. Premillennialism a Jewish doctrine and thereby shares the basic unbelief of the Jews. This fact alone should eliminate it from sober-minded Christians. For example, popular prophecy writer Hal Lindsey shows us that the entire millennial scheme boils down to whether the OT prophecies have been fulfilled.
“Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. Had the people received Him, He would have fulfilled the kingly prophecies in their day … But when the Jewish nation rejected Christ, the fulfillment of His kingship was postponed until the final culmination of world history” (There’s a New World Coming, 30).

John Walvoord agrees. “As late as Acts 1:6, the disciples were still looking for a literal kingdom. While refused revelation concerning the ‘time’ of the kingdom, their hope is not denied, spiritualized, or transferred to the church. The kingdom hope is postponed and the new age of which they never dreamed was interposed, but the promises continued undimmed” (The Millennial Kingdom, 206-07).

Few writers have been so forthcoming. This basic tenet, however, is shared by premillennialists one and all. The prophesied kingdom of the OT was to be Jewish and promises relating to it have yet to be fulfilled.
Taking the cue from Walvoord [the kingdom hope was not ‘transferred’ to the church], the current assault against a NT fulfillment of OT prophecies is harangued as Replacement Theology. Dave Reagan of Lamb & Lion Ministries can hardly contain himself on this point. He equates this “theology” with “God invalidating His promises to the Jews” (The Jewish People: Rejected or Beloved?, 18).

So, per these writers, Jesus came “to fulfill the law and the prophets” (Matt. 5:17) but unexpectedly, the Jews rejected Him. The Lord’s intentions were thwarted and He “postponed” or pigeon-holed these plans until the future. Inspired testimony, however, shows us that the Jews never did properly understand their prophecies. Paul put it this way while in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia. “For they that dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them in condemning Him” (Acts 13:27).

Here the Jewish unbelief in Christ is shown to be grounded in the manner in which they misunderstood the voices of all of their prophets! They insisted that the terms of the OT predictions called for a physical revitalization of the Jewish state. It therefore comes with poor grace that the common thread of current prophecy writers like Lindsey, Walvoord, and Reagan is the adoption of Jewish, not apostolic, methods of interpretation.

The New Covenant

For instance, Reagan refuses the inspired explanation of Jeremiah’s New Covenant (31:31-34) which is given in Hebrews 8:6-13. “And the New Covenant, promised to the Jews in the Old Testament … and which went into effect at the death of Jesus, has been expanded to include believing Gentiles. But it remains as a promise to Israel and will not be fulfilled until the Jews turn their hearts to God and receive His Son as their Messiah” (Ibid., 17). Again, on p. 157-59 Reagan suggests that this New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 is “an unconditional eternal covenant between God and Israel…Although it was made specifically with Israel, it was extended at the Cross to be made available to any person who places is or her faith in Jesus …”

Reagan here wants it both ways. The New Covenant was made “specifically” with fleshly Israel. It will not be fulfilled until Christ comes back. But it is available from the Cross to Gentiles also who God apparently allows to horn in on Jewish promises. God did not intend Gentiles—only Jews. But God changed His mind at the Cross to allow non-Jews. But it will not be “fulfilled” until Christ returns! Who cannot see the blatant contradiction here?
What is the problem? Reagan refuses to allow the NT to interpret the passage. The “Israel of God” is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:16) and the New Covenant was always intended to be inclusive of non-Jews (Heb. 8). When Jeremiah originally stated the NC would be with “the house of Israel and the house of Judah” he intended it to be in a spiritual sense.

This is why Walvoord explains the millennial belief as not merely a construct of what may occur in the future, but the ultimate determining factor in biblical interpretation. “It is not too much to say that millennialism is a determining factor in Biblical interpretation of comparable importance to the doctrines of verbal inspiration, the deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection” (Ibid., 16). The entire framework of the Premillennial structure, of which The Blood Moon Scheme functions as a room in the house, revamps the manner in which one looks at the Bible as a whole. As yesteryear scholar pointed out, the Premillennial edifice is the “offspring of rabbinical artifices” (Patrick Fairbairn, Typology of Scripture, I, 123). How strange that Blood Moons and Premillennialism should commend itself to Christian interpreters!

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