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If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:3)
By Neil Markva, Attorney
With state and federal governments now tagging Bible-believing Christians as “extremists” whom citizens must be wary, it’s time to examine the Biblical basis of Christianity and its role in our nation’s Christian heritage. For America has fallen from the pinnacle of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” marked as God-given unalienable rights in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, to the point of imposed government’s complete control of our lives.
In 1828, Noah Webster published the American Dictionary of the English Language after 28 years of compiling it. The introduction of its 1967 reproduction states that the dictionary “was produced during the years when the American home, church and school were established upon a Biblical and a patriotic basis.” Webster is quoted as saying:
In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed…. no truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people….
Webster echoes the words of Jesus in His great commission to his disciples when He said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” He announces His authority in heaven as the Son of God and on earth as the Son of Man created with dominion over the earth and everything in it.
Go therefore and make disciples of [disciple] all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20.
The disciples were the leaders of His church, the body of Christ, who, along with their converts, were to baptize or immerse the nations and their people in the name of meaning “under the authority of” the triune Godhead. Were they to impose this authority by force and violence? No. But by teaching the nations and their people to voluntarily obey the laws and commandments of the Lord who will never leave believers who freely eat of the tree of life and receive eternal life. Revelations 2:1,7; John 17:3.
When Jesus asked the disciples the question, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock [of his word] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:15-18.
The church, the body of Christ empowered with authority, would battle and prevail over the gates of Hades and Satan whom Jesus recognized as the ruler of the world who will be cast out of the world, has nothing in Jesus the Messiah, and is judged. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11.
Nations and Their Governments
Nations are known by the kind of governments they have. Whether they rule a nation’s people by domineering them with insolence and superiority as masters or granting them liberty to freely obey the Sovereign God as their servants. Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, spoke of the coming Messiah and His relationship to the government of nations.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Isaiah 9:6-7.
His shoulder is at the top of His body, which Jesus identified to His disciples as His church. Thus, according to Scripture, Isaiah declares that government is to rest on His church. So when Jesus commissioned His disciples to teach nations to obey all things that He commanded them, He expected them to fulfill His wishes that He revealed to them concerning nations and governments.
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:25-28.
The governing concept of a public servant came directly from the lips of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ. And it is up to the church, the body of Christ, to see that the government of a nation observes this commandment of our Lord. Politicians who see themselves as public servants answer to the people. Otherwise, they simply do what they wish to do without considering the will of the people of a nation.
A public servant is a unique Christian concept that the Founders enshrined to put the people in charge so that Americans could enjoy the degree of liberty and prosperity that forms part of our nation’s exceptionalism. Regrettably, our constitutional government no longer ensures the public servant concept in America where our current collection of elected officials simply ignore it and impose their arbitrary will on us. The recent passage of national health care legislation in the face of more than 70 percent of we the people opposing it is a primary example of arbitrary, tyrannical government.
Just what is “the government?”
As noted, the Lord’s church has the responsibility before God to support a nation’s government and provide it with a form that accomplishes its task according to God’s law ensuring righteousness and peace to reign in the lives of its people. If the meaning of government is limited to and guided by “the interests of the state” that sets the standard of our conduct to comply with its wishes and demands, government becomes an imposed authoritarian or tyrannical State. This now is occurring in our nation. And it all flows from the supposed separation of church and State that means a separation of God from government. For to eliminate God from a society is to eliminate Biblical morality from its thoughts and beliefs so as to capture its people in a system designed for elites to determine life outcomes for those whom they deem “not qualified” to know what’s good for them or how they should be governed.
France of the 18th century exemplifies another nation without God as its Sovereign. For shortly after America put its Constitution into operation, France had its Revolution that went in a completely different direction from that of the American Revolution.
France’s Rights of Man
On June 21, 1788, our nation ratified our Constitution that adopted “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” to which our nation’s human laws were to conform for validity. In 1789, France adopted an “interests of the state” government. For rule of its leaders derived from the majority of its people who lived without God in their thoughts and beliefs (called mob rule) governed the French people during its Revolution.
Shortly after our Constitution went into operation (April 30, 1789), the French people adopted “majority rule” to govern their nation as sovereign by separating God from their government. Between June 17 and June 27, 1789, the National Assembly of France was created and on August 26, 1789, it approved the “Declaration of the Rights of Man” that excluded God from the state. Its Article 3 declares its nation to be sovereign where government is God:
The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation (emphasis added).
Out-of-control government indebtedness, high taxes, inflation, government bankruptcy, loss of private property, unemployment, among other things, led the French people to revolt. On July 14, 1789, the Parisian people stormed the Bastille, the citadel and symbol of despotism, released its political prisoners and saved the revolution. The conclusion of such government without God met its logical end in France’s “Reign of Terror” in which thousands lost their heads at the guillotine.
Nowadays, in America, the time is fast approaching circumstances akin to those of the French Revolution in which the government has become saddled with indebtedness that taxing the people will not repay. The systematic elimination of God from our society makes “We The People” more dependent on centralized government to supply our needs. Unless the people of God rise up and glorify Him in our response to these foreboding circumstances, only the Lord knows what will happen in and to America.
Internal and External Government
Webster (1828) defines government and comments on its meaning. “Direction; regulation. These precepts will serve for the government of our conduct.” And “Control; restraint. Men are apt to neglect the government of their temper and passions.” Here, Webster distinguishes between external and internal government, that is, imposed government and self-government. The social order of a nation requires both kinds of government under rules adopted and/or made in the interests of society rather than for a chosen few that governs in the interests of the State.
The Founders first adopted God’s rules known as “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” to be the Supreme Law of the land to govern us externally, but now a “chosen few” governs our nation’s life.
A law of nature determines all human conduct: As a man thinks within himself, so is he. Proverbs 23:7. This law involuntarily governs a man’s conduct that depends on whatever he thinks, believes, and opines as a free, moral agent. However, a person chooses, wittingly or unwittingly, to be free as a moral being or in bondage as an immoral agent. The person’s choice is with knowledge if taught according to truth, or without knowledge if indoctrinated to see themselves as the center about which all life is to revolve. The difference is being “other” centered versus self-centered in conduct.
Scripture spells out the choice. “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” Romans 6:16. Sin evokes the lusts of the flesh so when a person obeys sin, the lusts of the flesh manifest causing the person to commit evil. Paul speaks “in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” Romans 6:19.
Self-government is possible. Paul then explains to the Romans the benefits of being free of the control of sin in a Christian’s life.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:20-23.
Christians are set free of sin because they have a recreated spirit in which the Holy Spirit resides. For Christians “are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. Therefore, Christians have total control over the conduct of their lives and can practice self-control by choice. Yes, sin is still in the Christian’s flesh but their relationship with God is restored to that of Adam in Eden before the Fall.
Christians were once Gentiles in the flesh and called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands. At that time they were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus they who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:11-13. Jesus interposed His blood and life to satisfy mankind’s broken relationship with the Father. This interposition is called Atonement. For God reconciled man with Himself and gave man opportunity to reconcile himself to God. That is, to be “at one” with Him through Christ Jesus.
Self or Another Governs
Webster (1928) suggests who should govern when he says that moral relates “to the practice, manners or conduct of men as social beings in relation to each other, and with reference to right and wrong,” and “is applicable to actions that are good or evil, virtuous or vicious, and has reference to the law of God as the standard by which their character is to be determined.” Free will governs when man chooses to practice self-government under God or to live under the imposed law of others without God.
Government then begins with the individual’s internal self-control. It ends with “men and their relations as social beings” within the social order that relies on self-control of individuals who compose it to maintain “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in it. Liberty for the people of a nation to freely live their lives depends on the amount of self-control in people of each of the segments of society. For the amount of self-control of each of the segments measured by God’s standard of right and wrong determines the nature of a nation, whether it’s righteous, fixed, and just or wicked, varied, and arbitrary.
Webster (1828) more specifically states that moral “denotes something which respects the conduct of men and their relations as social beings whose actions have a bearing on each others’s rights and happiness” such as “moral character; moral views; moral knowledge; moral sentiments; moral maxims; moral approbation; moral doubts; moral justice; moral virtue; moral obligations, &c.”
In other words, man with God is moral and man without God is immoral and imposes external government regardless of “other’s rights and happiness.” He goes on: “Or moral denotes something which respects the intellectual powers of man, as distinct form his physical powers. Thus we speak of moral evidence, moral arguments, moral persuasion, moral certainty, moral force; which operate on the mind.” Morality speaks from the pages of the Bible, God’s word, that provides us with the insights to control our conduct and determine the character, justice, and virtue of any nation.
The social order of a nation is necessarily a division of the Created Order with its laws of nature and of nature’s God. For the Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:19. His laws reveal seven segments of a social order in each nation – family, church, school, political government and law, business and economics, performing arts, and communications. Leaders in each of these segments determine which type of government, righteous or wicked, will rule a nation. The righteousness of Christianity ruled our nation beginning in the 17th century, but secular Godlessness that depends on man’s feelings, reason, and opinions now prevails in our social order.
Knowing these truths, we can understand how government works if it has God and His fixed, uniform, and universal law as our standard of conduct versus man’s ever-changing opinions as our shifting measure of conduct. With God, the Creator, we have the optimum source of righteous conduct for our self-government. For those who wish to control our lives with imposed government that promises to meet all our needs, God and His law is a threat to their objective.
Each Person Lives by Faith in Someone or Some Thing
Government under God begins at home in the family in concert with His household. “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:30-32. Christians have a “one flesh” relationship with Jesus Christ. Think about it. Christians are equipped the same as Jesus was in the flesh when He walked on earth.
Our spirits are “His workmanship” in which the Holy Spirit resides. And we are anointed with the power and authority of the Holy Spirit to the intent that:
now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Ephesians 3:10-12.
Now Christians must know the manifold wisdom of God if we are to make it known to the principalities and powers of darkness that rule the world. That wisdom is in the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached. And our attitude must be the same as Paul, the Apostle, who said he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith in Him.” Romans 1:16-17.
Rebuild the Foundations
The righteousness of God that we must obey to practice self-government requires our faith to be in Him, God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son, and not ourselves or someone else in the flesh. A newborn baby puts its faith totally in the flesh of its mother. And its up to its parents to teach that child to put its faith in Him by presenting the kingdom of God to the child in word and in deed. This is the expression of perfect love that casts out fear.
The Father tells the church how to proceed. “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out. When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” Isaiah 58:6-7.
Is this not what America did from the beginning of the 17th century? Look what happened. From the early 1600s to the early 1800s, the family was the center of our nation’s social order as long as people honored God and His word. Wives welcomed submission to their own husbands who related to them as Christ did to the church as its Saviour. Wives would not submit to someone else’s husband who may have been a leader in another family or segment of society and did not rule in his duties according to God’s law.
God spoke in the Great Awakenings of the 18th century when America removed from its midst England with King George III, the finger pointing, and the speaking of wickedness. Its light dawned in the darkness, and its darkness was as the noonday. The Lord guided it continually, and satisfied its soul in drought, and strengthen its bones. America has been like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among it, America’s citizens, shall now build the old waste places. The foundations of many generations shall be raised up. And they shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. Isaiah 58:10-12.
Nowadays the moral relationship between husband and wife is substantially lacking because Godlessness now prevails in our nation’s social “disorder.” Fornication, adultery, sodomy, and lesbianism are major attacks on the family and its keystone role in God’s social order of a nation. The sexual relationship between husband and wife is sacred under God, but fleshly lusts for pleasure rule under Godlessness. The result: single parent moms and their financial problems, HIV and pornography epidemics, child and spouse abuse, etc. The only answer: Our nation must return to God and His order for it to return to the greatness it once enjoyed.
Editor’s note: © Neil Markva 2010. This article is reprinted by permission.