Archive for the ‘History Lessons’ Category

Periodically, an article will appear in the conservative press bemoaning the preponderance of lawyers in Congress.

Recently Vision to America blamed Congress’ all-time low approval rating (9%) on the over-representation of attorneys.  “The overall feelings expressed by most Americans is that they don’t accomplish anything worthwhile and are so rich and elite that they no longer have any connection to the common working man.”

This leads to a popular Myth:  The problem with Congress is too many Congressmen are  lawyers.

This myth certainly has much to commend it.  Christ put lawyers on the same level as Pharisees in his dinner-table denunciation recorded in Luke 11:46-54.

“Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”

This certainly describes the hypocrisy of the United States Congress, which is notorious for excusing itself from the burdensome legislation it imposes on everybody else.  Social Security and Obama Care are examples, and more recently the hypocritical call for disarming the American public, all the time surrounding themselves with their own heavily armed bodyguards.

But Jesus had more to say, “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”

The plethora of lawyers in Congress is merely a symptom of a deeper problem:  the key of knowledge has been taken away.  A culture that has rejected  the  law of God, will of necessity multiply laws and lawyers.  When man goes into the god-business he becomes a control freak.  When manmade law abounds, it is a dead giveaway that man is exalting himself as god in a system of humanism.

Therein lies the root of the problem.  First century Judea was a culture much like our own – a culture  that had  rejected the law of God and embraced the law of man.  You can always identify the god of a society, by locating the source of law in that society.

It was a body of predominantly lawyers who met in Philadelphia in 1787 to give America its current Constitution.  It was Article VI of this Constitution that took away the key of knowledge – the law of God – in favor of manmade law.  The fateful words are found in the first paragraph:  “This Constitution and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof and all treaties made … shall be the supreme law of the land….” 

Noted social commentator Otto Scott put it this way, “The United States was a government whose constitution claimed no higher authority than its own laws.  That was essentially a lawyer’s concept of civilization, and could be traced not to the church, but to Roman tradition.  In effect, the Founders had recklessly placed the government in the position of what ancient Greeks called a “tyrant” which, in its original sense, meant a rule without divine authority” (The Secret Six, Uncommon Media).

The common man senses this and fights back with humor.  Lawyer jokes abound.

Q: How does an attorney sleep? A: First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.

Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and God?  A: God doesn’t think he’s a lawyer.

Q: What do you call a lawyer gone bad.  A: Senator.

Nonetheless, lawyers are apparently not quite as irredeemable as  the humorist would have it.  In his letter to Titus, Paul urged him to “Diligently help Zenas the  lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them” (Titus 3:13).  That proves there was at least one good lawyer.

“But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John” (Lk 7:30).  That proves God has a purpose for everybody — even for lawyers.

Case Closed:  Lawyers per se are not the problem.  The arena of law and the lawyer are but one more realm desperately in need of Christian reconstruction.   The “key of Knowledge” must be restored to the legal profession.  And there will come a day when “The mountain of the house of the Lord will be established…and all the nations will stream to it…That He may teach us concerning His ways…For the law will go forth from Zion….” (Is 2:2,3).

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The Council of Nicea (A.D. 325) was the first of the great church councils and perhaps the most important because it established the divinity of Christ as taught in Scripture.

This was opposed to Arianism, which subordinated Christ to the Father as a created being.  According to R.J. Rushdoony in “Foundations of Social Order (p.11,12),” the three main points of Arianism were, first, Christ was a created being; second, He was not eternally existent; and, third, Christ was not of the same essence with the Father.

The battle was waged over the key words homoousion (being of one essence, i.e., with the Father), and homoiousion (of like essence).   The change of a single letter by Arius had monumental consequences.  If Christ was a mere man then his claims on earthly kings were more easily dismissed than if He were of the same essence with God and thus King of kings.

Initially, Athanasius stood alone for the orthodox position.  His bold stand for truth inspired the phrase, “Athanasius against the world.”

This great triumph of orthodoxy at Nicea is somewhat obscured by various myths about the Council, in particular one perpetuated by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code:

Myth:  Constantine collated an entirely new Bible at the Council of Nicea, containing only books that speak of Jesus as divine.

Paul Pavao tackles this myth and several others in the following article:

The Council of Nicea: Dispelling the Myths

By Paul Pavao, Expert Author

Myths about the Council of Nicea proliferate on the web. My Google Alert for “Council of Nicea” yields up to 3 new blogs a day, many of them filled with misinformation.

There are three primary myths:

That the Council of Nicea determined which books would be in the Bible.

That St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, was at Nicea and slapped Arius.

That the emperor Constantine changed the Sabbath day to Sunday at the          Council of Nicea

Before we look at these, why should you believe me?

HOW WE KNOW ABOUT THE COUNCIL OF NICEA?

There are major sources for knowing about the council of Nicea:

The letter of Eusebius the historian to his home church at Caesarea explaining the council’s decision

A discussion of the council in Eusebius’ Life of Constantine

A letter to the churches from Constantine after the council

Minor references to the council in Athanasius’ later letters.

Three church histories from about a century after Nicea, referencing sources, some of which we no longer have available

The creed and the 20 canons [ecclesiastical rules] of Nicea

A multitude of letters from before and after Nicea that make it clear what controversies led to the council

Anything not found in those sources is made up.

BASIC FACTS

The Council of Nicea took place in A.D. 325, and it convened to address two major topics:

The doctrine of Arius that the Son of God did not exist before being begotten of God in the beginning.

The day on which Passover (Easter) should be celebrated.

It was called by Constantine. The three people who attended and gave numbers said it was attended by over 250 bishops, approximately 270 bishops, and 318 bishops.

DID THE COUNCIL OF NICEA DETERMINE

WHICH BOOKS SHOULD BE IN THE BIBLE?

This myth was popularized by Dan Brown in his book, The Da Vinci Code. There he wrote:

Constantine collated an entirely new Bible at the Council of Nicea, containing only books that speak of Jesus as divine.

The truth is that the issue of which books should be in the Bible is not even mentioned in any of the sources above. As a matter of fact, except for some of the general epistles, which books should be in the Bible had been settled for well over a century. A document called the Muratorian Canon has been found dating from around A.D. 160 which gives a list of books very similar to our modern New Testament. A search of which books were quoted by 2nd and 3rd century church fathers shows that their Bible was already almost exactly the same as ours.

There was no reason for the Council of Nicea to discuss the books of the Bible because it was not a controversial subject.

WAS ST. NICHOLAS AT THE COUNCIL,

AND DID HE SLAP ARIUS?

Nicholas, too, is not mentioned by any of the contemporary historical sources, though it’s possible he was at Nicea. Stories about him are not told until the 6th century, 200 years after Nicea, and the story of him slapping Arius did not arise until 500 years after Nicea.

Jolly St. Nick did rap the psychologist with his cane according to Miracle on 34th Street, but it’s best to treat the slapping of Arius as a complete fabrication.

DID CONSTANTINE CHANGE THE SABBATH TO SUNDAY?

 The issue that was addressed at Nicea was whether Passover should be celebrated on Nisan 14, on the day it fell on the Jewish calendar, or whether it should be celebrated on a Sunday near Nisan 14.

The council did decide that Passover would be celebrated on a Sunday by all churches, but it did not address the weekly meeting of the churches.

The churches had been meeting on Sunday since apostolic times. Justin Martyr mentions Sunday as the Christian meeting day by name in A.D. 150 (First Apology 67), but Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, addresses the issue even earlier:

Those who have been brought up in the ancient order of things [i.e., converted Jews] have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath but living in observance of the Lord’s day. (Magnesians 9, c. A.D. 110)

Entire books have been written trying to propagate the myth that it was Constantine who changed the Sabbath to Sunday, but anyone familiar with early Christian history knows that there is abundant and unanimous testimony that Christians met on Sunday, not Saturday, and that they did not require physical rest on any day.

REVIEWING THE SOURCES YOURSELF

A good, short explanation of the early Christian understanding of the Sabbath is contained in the early 2nd century Letter of Barnabas, chapter 15, which are available for free, along with all the other sources I mention here, at the Christian Classic Ethereal Library at.  Look for the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus, Sozomen, and Theodoret, and you can follow the notes to the sources they use that are available today.

Christian history isn’t boring! History is, by definition, the most exciting stories and interesting facts of all time.

Paul Pavao’s Christian History for Everyman is dedicated to telling you those stories. You can learn more than you ever wanted to know about first ecumenical council at his Council of Nicea pages.

Archeological evidence is still piling up to disprove the theories of professional skeptics of the Biblical miracles.  These skeptics are “professional” in the level of skill and creativity they have brought to the task of inventing naturalistic explanations for the miracles of God.

One such explanation involves the famous Red Sea crossing of the Children of Israel.  After four centuries the Hebrew slaves had been released from bondage, but their exodus was seemingly thwarted by the Red Sea.  The hard-hearted Pharaoh had changed his mind and was bearing down hard on the defenseless Children of Israel.  God miraculously opened a path through the Red Sea for His people, then closed it on the Egyptians drowning their entire army.

Myth:  The Red Sea crossing can be explained by an exceptionally strong wind that piled up waters in the shallow “Reed” Sea.

To deal with this myth, we’ve called on the services of Aaron Kolom, a former NASA  aerospace engineer.  In evaluating such evidence it is important to remember that it is illustrative rather than corraborative.  If we use scientific or other evidence to “prove” the Bible, we are inadvertently elevating the authority of that evidence above that of the Bible.

2000AD UCLA Study Group – Science Vs Bible, Wrap-Up

By Aaron Kolom, Expert Author

“Well,” said Professor Barrett, “We have examined the scientific, archaeological evidence of an Hebraic, Semitic people who lived in Egypt, the Goshen area, in ancient times; also that similar people, centuries later, conquered cities in Canaan; and there is much proof that the Hebrew Kings: Saul, David and Solomon did exist – therefore, in between, these Hebrews had to have exited Egypt, somehow and sometime.” He paused, “Thus, there seemingly, is solid, corroborative evidence of the beginning and end to the Exodus story.

Science and knowledge also, in just the past decade, have uncovered hard, artifact and iconoclastic evidence of Egyptian chariot wreckage in the Gulf of Aqaba; also, we see an amazing cleft stone boulder; and a Mount Sinai – so many details that validate the Bible story. What is interesting, as challenges to theology, is that we have not come upon any real conflicts. However, we have no clue about the “miracle” food ‘manna’ by which the Hebrews were supposedly sustained for forty years of roaming the desert wilderness; nor do we know if alkaline water can really be sweetened by the bark or sap from a tree.”

“Before a final wrap-up -” Lawrence was raising his hand, “- I’ve run into something that tends to lend scientific credence to the Exodus story in general.” He paused, “In his book, ‘The Mountain of Moses’, Larry Williams says he hired a scientific research company to analyze areal photos of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gulf of Aqaba, taken by a French satellite. The procedure was a military development, now employed in all archaeological research of Earth surfaces – it discriminates subtle differences in heat patterns using special filters on photographic negatives.

The analysis reported a clear trail, estimated as being thousands of years old, going to the seashore, and resuming on the other side of the Gulf of Aqaba. The trail discloses numerous large campsites, continues parallel to the Gulf and then inland to Mt. Jabal Al Laws, with an extremely large campsite nearby. The same analyses for the accepted and traditional sites for Mt. Sinai in the Sinai peninsula show much smaller trails, and are only a few centuries old with few campsites.”

“And so,” the professor looked at each of his students, “this has been quite a journey for us this past, extremely interesting year – very enjoyable, and we all learned quite a lot about ancient peoples and Egypt. There would be no surprise to me if the number of items which corroborated the Bible narrative by artifacts and archaeological discoveries – comes close to a hundred*.

Therefore, how about an average of our personal estimates?” The professor paused. “What percentage of all the biblical stories – even what seem to be miracles, anecdotes, or what-have-you – do we think have been validated with pretty solid 21st century reality? How about a show of hands for 50% or over?” All raised their hands and kept them up; “60% or over?” – the hands remained up. The final score was one at 70-80%, four including the professor, at 80-90%; two, at over 90% – the average 86%.

“Just think” said Bethe, “if we could come upon some writings of a Hebrew who lived through that Exodus period, describing the events – as we have the Amarna letter by the widow of Pharaoh, and the Ipuwer papyrus scroll, and the Egyptian chroniclers Manetho and Cheremon – and with our 21st century verification keeping pace. Now, wouldn’t that have been interesting?”

_____________________________________________________________________

*In fact, 107 separate confirming discoveries are cited herein – each of the following numerous items is given only a single count: the total of all the coral-covered chariot wheels; the total of all the skeletal bones of horses and men; the Ipuwer scroll describing many of the Ten Plagues; the Brooklyn Papyrus with about fifty Semitic names of slaves, Amarna letters containing many biblical names; stela listing numerous ancient Hebrew cities, etc.

Aaron Kolom qualifies as a “rocket scientist” with over 50 years aerospace engineering: Stress Analyst to Chief of Structural Sciences on numerous military aircraft, to Corp. Director Structures and Materials, Asst. Chief Engineer Space Shuttle Program through first three flights (awarded NASA Public Service Medal), Rockwell International Corp.; Program Manager Concorde SST, VP Engineering TRE Corp.; Aerospace Consultant.

Visit website at http://www.brainwashedandmiracles.com to learn a bit about Science vs the Bible, from conflict to confirmation. http://www.definingmoment.tv for two book interviews.

The media uproar over Mitt Romney’s hapless comment that the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax will vote for Obama is close to the heart of what really ails America.

Although Mitt Romney didn’t carry it this far, we are approaching that point in the Hegelian dialectic where Democracy self-destructs.  Ann Coulter, writing in World Net Daily, drew the obvious conclusions:

“Thanks to the myopia of our one-party media, most journalists are firmly convinced that voters will be appalled by Romney’s description of 47 percent of Americans as supporting Obama because they pay no income tax.

But the only people shocked by Romney’s statement of fact are those who would never vote Republican under any circumstances. Everyone else is saying, “Is it really as high as 47 percent?” – as the media impotently shouts, “No, you idiot! That’s not the point!”

There’s going to come a time, in the not-distant future, when it’s 51 percent paying no income tax. And when that happens, the party of big government will never lose another election. “

In spite of this logical fact of political life, many Christian conservatives continue to insist that America was established as a republic.  As usual, the discrepancy between the mythical past, and present poor performance is held to be an alleged departure from the original intent of the founding founders.  The latter have attained near demi-god status in the eyes of most Christian conservatives.

Myth:  Because the founding fathers established America as a republic, it is incorrect to refer to American government as a democracy

The initial step in this MythBusters’ investigation was some historical reflection.  We first noticed that Mitt Romney’s observation was nothing more than a restatement of a famous quotation, over 200 years old.

The Evils of Democracy

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”  Alexander Tytler, a Scottish born British attorney.

It is true that the Founding Fathers did claim to “guarantee every state in this union a republican form of government” (Art. IV).  But we noticed that the guarantee does not explicitly include the national government itself.

The Constitution gives the impression – on the surface at least – that its structure is designed to impose republican limits on government power. The three branches are said to check and balance each others’ powers.  And the federal form is supposed to give Congress limited, delegated powers, with all others reserved to the states.  Legislators are elected to represent their constituents, which is the key feature of a republic

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Moreover, other statements of the founding fathers indicate a clear distaste for democracy.  For example,

  • “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.” — John Adams
  • “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” — Benjamin Franklin
  • “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.”  — Thomas Jefferson
  • James Madison called democracy the “tyranny of the majority”

Added to this is the testimony of scripture when Korah issued a democratic challenge to Moses:  “…You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” (Num. 16:3).

God was less than impressed by this Democratic argument.  In fact, He was barely restrained from destroying the entire congregation, but instead opened the earth to swallow Korah alive and all that was his.

Republican Skeleton, Democratic Heart

Nonetheless, whether the founders intended it or not, MythBusters research found that  government created by the United States Constitution is democratic at its core.  Democracy is by definition “a system of government of the whole population” (Oxford American Dictionary).   In a pure democracy the people vote on every issue and the government draws its authority from the body of the people rather than from God.

By contrast, a Biblical government would acknowledge its authority to be from God alone.  “…For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rmn. 13:1).

The founders  relied heavily on John Locke and Locke denied the verity of the above verse in his chapter “On the Beginnings of Political Societies” in the “Second Treatise of Government.”  Locke asserted “…that which begins and actually constitutes any political society is nothing but the consent of any number of freemen capable of a majority to unite and incorporate into such a society.  And this is that, and that only which did or could give beginning to any lawful government in the world.”

Locke calls this the social compact or social contract.  Notice that it is founded exclusively on the consent of the majority — “that and that only.”  As noted above this is the essence of Democracy.

The preamble of the U. S. Constitution matches this template exactly when it affirms that “we the people…do ordain and establish this Constitution….”  Democracy is affirmed, God is thereby rejected, and all the trappings of Republicanism in the end come to nothing.

Case Closed:  While the Constitution may have the skeleton of a republic it has the heart of a democracy.  It is the heart that controls.  It is a heart not governed or limited by the law of God.  Every republican restraint will be undermined and evaded until all that is left is the individual against the raw power of the state, embodied  in the majority.

Mitt Romney is faced with this stark  reality.  History MythBusters concludes that the myth America was established as a republic is a half truth at best.  The only escape from the inevitable “followed by a dictatorship” is to humble ourselves as a nation under the mighty hand of God and return to his law in our system of justice.

That’s not quite the way Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) put it in the heart of the Great Depression of 1933.  As I recall it was more like “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

And fear is a natural reaction to an event like the bloody terrorist attack on the American embassy in Libya last week.  Fear evokes in us a self-preservation response just as it did in the days of FDR.  For example, Damian Campbell of Survival Products, LLC did not hesitate to put that fear to practical use in a recent email communique:

I am going to make this short and sweet.  Recently 4 of our fellow American’s were killed at the Libyan Embassy.  These deaths were senseless, tragic, and did not have to occur.  I want to share with you a new resource that I have discovered that might have saved these 4 American Lives.   Nearly 5,000 concerned citizens recently pulled together to contribute their very best “survival tips” for a disaster scenario.

Shameless profiteering?  Not necessarily wrong; prudent preparation for approaching disaster is a virtue.  But if we’re not careful, it can mask a more profound message the event is intended to convey.  Even FDR missed it.

MYTH:  The events of history are random with no discernible meaning.

MythBusters accepted this case and found a plethora of clues in the book of II Kings in the Bible.   This book describes the incredible life of King Solomon of Israel.  Once the wisest man who ever lived, he fell from Grace when he rejected the law of God and worshiped the false gods of his foreign wives.  At that point he became one of the most foolish men who ever lived.  The Bible puts it like this:

And Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully,as David his father had done.  Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon (I Kg 11:6,7)

Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded. (v 9,10)

Likewise, modern America rejected the law of God when she ratified the United States Constitution in 1788  (cf. Case#16).   This presumptuous document makes itself and all its manmade laws “the supreme law of the land” rather than the Bible.  Christians have embraced this document and confirmed it in their teaching that the Old Testament law is no longer applicable.

God’s Rod of Discipline

 In response to this rebellion, God raised up three adversaries to Solomon, all described in the eleventh chapter of I Kings.  They were Hadad of the royal line in Edom, Rezon who reigned in Damascus, and Jeroboam whom Solomon appointed to manage his slave labor.

Some adversaries like Rezon are external and provide marauding harassment such as occurred in Libya on 9/11/2012 and in New York City on 9/11/2001.  Others, like Jeroboam are internal and serve to weaken and divide the nation such as Barack Obama.  Obama like the Babylonians is nothing more than God’s rod of discipline and will be disposed of by God when he has served His purpose.

 Then the Lord raised up an adversary to Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the royal line in Edom (I Kg 11:14)… God also raised up another adversary to him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah. And he gathered men        to himself and became leader of a marauding band, …. (v. 23,24)  Then Jeroboam the     son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king. (v 26)

The reason for this adversarial harassment was Solomon’s failure to keep God’s covenant and his statutes.(I Kg. 11:11) and His ordinances (I Kg. 11:33)   God turned up the heat in hopes that Solomon would again see the light.

 Because they have forsaken Me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the sons of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways, doing what is right in My sight and observing My statutes and My ordinances, as his father David did (v 33)

The Proper Response to God’s Rod of Discipline

Unfortunately, Solomon missed the point because in I Kings 11:40 we are told that “Solomon sought therefore to put Jeroboam to death…”  In striking back at Jeroboam Solomon was striking back at God.

The proper response is not to resist or shelter ourselves from God’s rod of discipline, but rather to yield in obedience so that we may eventually receive His blessing.  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.  Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you” (I Pet. 5:6,7).

So how does that apply to 21st Century America?  I used to think that our modern idols were more sophisticated than the carved statues described in the Old Testament.  Many of them are.  Among other things, they include the many government programs that FDR ushered in during the Great Depression.  To this very day people look to the programs of FDR for their secular salvation.  Thus, FDR himself has become an American idol.

But it is now common knowledge that the worship of Ashteroth has been literally revived in the Bohemian Grove conclave of Northern California, where world leaders gather every summer.  Moreover, the pagan owl appears on the obverse of the dollar bill, introduced during the FDR era and detectable with a magnifying glass.  And there is much pagan symbolism in the architecture and street layout of Washington D.C.

At any point somebody in the chain of command can stop the downward spiral by “listening and observing my statutes and my commandments” (I Kg. 11:38).  God told even Jeroboam:

“Then it will be, that if you listen to all that I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight by observing My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build you an enduring house as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.

Case Closed:  In the fear and scramble for survival that is generated by a tragedy like the Great Depression  in the days of FDR and the Libya massacre today, let us not miss the deeper message in the event.   America rejected God and his law with ratification of the godless United States Constitution of 1788.  For over 200 years God in mercy postponed or moderated the judgment that is now being fully manifested.

For those with ears to hear, the voice of God is clearly detected in the events of history, for blessing or for cursing in response to our obedience or disobedience.  In God’s promise to Jeroboam we learn that it is never too late to claim the blessing by returning to the statutes and ordinances of His law.   But the time for action has arrived.

 

“If My People….” Is a newly released booklet on prayer and fasting described as “A 40-Day Prayer Guide for the Nation:  The Only Thing That Will Save Us!”

The booklet is further described as a guide for “believers on a 40-day prayer journey in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14.”   It is assumed that God will be moved to action on behalf of the nation by an outpouring of prayer and fasting from the church.

There’s only one catch.  It’s recorded in Proverbs 28:9 – “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law even his prayer shall be an abomination.”

MYTH:  If only we will fast and pray hard enough and long enough, God will heal America and save her from certain destruction.

The church in America has rejected the law of God as delivered by Moses and no amount of prayer and fasting, in and of itself, will overcome that corporate act of rebellion.  As a general rule the church considers itself “not under the law” as the rule of life and standard of practice.  To be sure, a degree of homage is paid in most evangelical churches to the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20.

But that’s usually as far as it goes.  The Mosaic judicials, that follow immediately in Exodus 21-23 are treated with hushed embarrassment by the church.  This section of scripture is virtually never expounded and seldom referenced in sermons on other topics.  These are the specific statutes (laws) and ordinances (penalties) that give definition to the Ten Commandments, but the church has rejected them as “fulfilled in Christ.”

This is nothing new.  God’s complaint against Israel was that His law was treated as a strange thing.  “Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law,: wrote the prophet Hosea, “They are regarded as a strange thing” (Hos 8:12).

When the church fails to honor and teach the law of God, the broader culture is quick to follow suit.  In the legal realm the vacuum is quickly filled by manmade laws that are of necessity tyrannical.  This is because any departure from God’s perfect law of liberty is a move in the direction of less freedom and more repression.

Rarely in the Old Testament prophets do we see God calling His people to prayer and fasting.  Almost always we find Him calling them to return to His law.  On those rare occasions when he does call for prayer, it is in the context of a return to His law.  In any other context, God regards prayer as futile at best and disgusting at worst.

Consider this passage from Hosea in which the people of God have been crying to God on the basis of their special relationship as His people.  God rejects their prayer and fasting and consigns them to judgment.

“…Because they have transgressed My covenant, and rebelled against My law.  They cry out to Me, ‘My God, we of Israel know Thee!’ Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him” (Hos 8:1-3).

 God Rejects Prayer

Likewise, the opening chapters of the book of Amos consign Judah and Israel to judgment for rejecting His law.  The indictment against Judah is a general rejection of the law, including the “statutes” – the specific laws that are spelled out in Exodus 21-23.  The indictment against Israel is more specific, detailing particular violations such as incest, kidnapping, and usury (Amos 2: 6-8).

For three transgressions of Judah and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they rejected the law of the Lord And Have not kept His statutes….” Amos 2:4).

 A little later in the book Yahweh declares His hatred for the prayers of their solemn assemblies.  He rejects the pleasant sound of their music as “noise.”  Why?  In one of the most poetic passages of the Bible God declares His preference for practical justice in the public arena over and above religious observance divorced from real life.

 “I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies  Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.  But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowng stream.” (Amos 5:21,23,24)

God Rejects Loud Prayer

Micah likewise reveals God’s attitude toward loud prayers, when the counsel of His law in the realm of the king has been neglected.  This complaint sets the stage for the famous passage in which God declares His preference for public justice as a true demonstration of kindness to our fellow man and humble devotion to Him

Now, why do you cry out loudly?  Is there no king among you, Or has your counselor perished….” (Mic 4:9).  “With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high?  …He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your god?”

Instead, God is bringing judgment upon them (v. 14,15,16) because they have substituted the laws of Omri (5th king of Israel) and the grandeur of Ahab’s government monuments for the justice of God’s law (v. 16).   Even as America has exalted her Constitution “and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof as the “supreme law of the land” (Article VI, Par, 2) over and above the law of God.   Christians in general are blind to this great offense against true justice defined by the law of God; in fact they usually applaud it.

There are no end of examples.   The prophet Habakkuk was perplexed as to why God would not answer his prayer.  Once again God’s response was that “the law is slacked and justice is never upheld”

How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and Thou wilt not hear?  I cry out to Thee violence! Yet Thou dost not save….the law is ignored and justice is never upheld.  For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted” (Hab 1:2,4,7).

Esoterics, the compromised, backsliders, and the irreligious in Jerusalem are all alike commanded to be silent before the Lord by the prophet Zephaniah (Zeph. 1: 5-7).  Prayer is ineffectual for all who reject the law of God.

And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven (esoterics), and those who bow down and swear to the Lord and yet swear by Milcom (compromised), And those who have turned back from following the Lord (backsliders), And those who have not sought the Lord or inquired of Him (irreligious).  Be silent before the Lord God!

Religious syncretism is a great danger.   There are many in America today who appear to be following the Lord, but have not forsaken idolatry.  They swear by both the Lord and Milcom, who was the national god of the Ammonites.  Milcom represented state power.  Milcom worship is rampant in America today in government schooling, in government “welfare”, in unbiblical patriotism that endorses a military empire abroad.

There is also a form of “fundamentalism” that endorses these things by its pietistic indifference. A preacher can preach through the entire book of Nehemiah and never once make the obvious national applications to rebuilding the wall of public justice.  Everything is personal and pietistic and Milcom is enthroned by default.

By contrast are those who “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth who have carried out His ordinances….” (Zeph.2:3)

Case Closed:  When the time comes for action, God is not moved by prayer when His law is being ignored.  MythBuster Rating:   Upon investigation “If My People….”  is awarded the HistoryMythBusters Yellow Flag for perpetuating this myth.

The time for action on the part of the American church is long overdue.  When Moses came to the Red Sea he prayed for a miracle.  “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me?  Tell the sons of Israel to go forward’.”

Our backs also are to the wall.  It is time for Christian Pastors and laymen alike to “go forward” to their local magistrate and lead them in a return to the law of God and its just requirements in the legal system of the state.