Posts Tagged ‘magistrate’

“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.

It is heartening recently to see some Christian leaders placing themselves in a position of interposition between the people and their evil rulers.

In one example of interposition, Newsmax recently reported that “the Rev. Billy Graham has thrown his support behind embattled Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy and announced plans to stop by the fast food restaurant next Wednesday as part of Mike Huckabee’s “Eat Mor Chikin” promotion.”

In like manner, “Dr. James Dobson is taking a defiant stand on Obamacare and issuing a loud and clear message to President Obama: ‘I WILL NOT pay the surcharge for abortion services. … So come and get me if you must, Mr. President. I will not bow before your wicked regulation.’”

These are encouraging signs and a departure from the prevailing head-in-the-sand mentality that has characterized most evangelical church leadership for much of the past 100 years.

MYTH:  Christian leaders are obligated to obey every edict of the civil magistrate without resistance of any kind, in accordance with Rom. 13:1.

It is the responsibility of church leadership to inform the civil magistrate when his law does not conform to God’s law.  It may also be the responsibility of church leadership to disobey such a law because the church is a separate legal jurisdiction.  The great failing of church leadership in America today is its refusal to proclaim the law of the King of kings to the civil magistrate.

For John the Baptist, announcing Christ’s authority to Rome was as much a part of “preparing the way for the Lord” as was his ministry of baptism (Ps 2:10-12).  Baptism was John’s “priestly” preparation, but he was also announcing to Rome that a new King had arrived and Rome must obey His law:   Mt. 14:4,5 – “For John had been saying to him (Herod), ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.”  That was the kingly preparation.

This would make proclaiming God’s law to local magistrates as much a part of the job description of church leadership, as baptizing new converts.  This kind of interposition is not an option.  That’s the reason early Christians were sent to the lions: they boldly proclaimed, “there is another king, Jesus and His law is supreme.” Rome could care less how much they baptized.

The Failure of Modern Church Leadership

Our civil leadership today at every level is guilty as Rome in defying the law of God.  How does American church leadership respond to this?  From what I’ve seen across the board, it’s pretty much apathy — none of our concern.  Is not that very apathy and rejecting the duty of interposition that has led to our current desperate plight?

The most energetic response the contemporary church can muster at this time of crisis seems to be scheduling the next church picnic or rock concert.  But, throughout the Bible we see church leaders standing before kings and taking the initiative to instruct civil leaders in the law of God.  We may protest that we have no time, but John the Baptist was probably short on time also.

If we don’t start taking God’s law seriously in the matter of interposition how can we avoid His displeasure or judgment of even our worship, just as He smote Uzza in the midst of a very charismatic worship service (I Chr 13:9,10).  “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination” (Pr. 28:9).

One pastor indicated to me that has denomination had made several overtures to the Obama Administration a while back.  There was no response and therefore that fulfills the church’s responsibility.  That was a good start toward interposition, but refusal of the evil “king” to respond to this and many other appeals leads necessarily to the 2nd Biblical step.  That is appeal to the local or lesser magistrate to fulfill his oath-bound duty to position himself between the people and the evil king.  That is the Biblical answer to tyranny, seen many times in the book of Judges (e.g. 3:9; 4:2,3; 6: 6-12).

Failure to do this leaves the congregation and the community exposed to the wrath of God, as was the case with David’s census.  Almost every day we see outrageous assaults on our freedom.  These are doubtless orchestrated gradually by God in mercy to wake us up.

America is under the authority of a man who 1) defies the law of God in the most audacious manner and 2) is intent on using his executive power to enslave the people.  We have economic insanity, strip searches in airports, the government encouraging people to spy on each other in 4,000 WalMart stores, the FCC taking initial steps to neutralize the internet, and much more.

This is all right out of the “1984” playbook.  Or more specifically the “Rules for Radicals” playbook for Communist takeover as taught by Mr. Obama in Chicago.  This is a direct result of an isolationist church that refuses to represent the Kingship of Christ to the civil magistrate.  It is in danger of being thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

The Biblical Doctrine of Local Interposition

The doctrine of interposition is seen throughout the book of Judges and summarized by Calvin in Chapter XX, par. 31, pp. 1518-1519 as follows:

“For if there are now any magistrates of the people, appointed to restrain the willfulness of kings…I am so far from forbidding them to withstand, in accordance with their duty, the fierce licentiousness of kings, that, if they wink at kings who violently fall upon and assault the lowly common folk, I declare that their dissimulation involves nefarious perfidy, because they dishonestly betray the freedom of the people, of which they have been appointed protectors by God’s ordinance.”

Calvin here denounces failure of leaders to interposition at the local level in the strongest terms.  He is calling for the “magistrates of the people” to refuse obedience to the lawless king and not to “wink” at him as the Nazis blindly followed the orders of Hitler.

Mr. Obama has been advised by the godfather (Soros) to ignore Congress and the courts and impose his will via the agencies.  They are testing our tolerance for tyranny a step at a time.  Would our Puritan forefathers have tolerated this?  Would Patrick Henry or George Washington have tolerated this?  Would John Knox or John the Baptist have tolerated this?

The current strategy of many churches is to raise up future generations who will eventually deal decisively with these problems.  It seems to me we are passing the buck to our grandchildren or great-grandchildren to perform the work of reformation that is staring us in the face.  If we do not take the necessary Biblical action of interposition in the present I think it is more likely that our great granchildren — if any survive — will look back and curse this generation for its passive response to the clear and present danger.

Case Closed:  It is the duty of the lower magistrate, supported by the clergy, to lead the people against a tyrant who refuses to obey the law of God.  How can we expect anything but judgment from God if we refuse this duty?  Like Jonah who fled from Ninevah at first, maybe God will spare us if we turn and carry his law into the heart of our city and warn the rebellious officials.