Friday, July 19, 2013

Comparing the Fall of ‘Old Testament' Israel with America’s Soon Demise

It has been common place over the years for many to compare the eventual fall of America witth the fall of Rome. All civilizations rise and fall, and there are, of course, many parallels between them when they do fall. Some even use the fall of Athenian democracy as another parallel. Plato complained in the Republic that democracy inherently leads to amateurism, anarchy, mob rule and eventually despotism. However, the fact of the matter is, that while the fall of any empire and country can be studied and used as a historical warning to what may happen in the future, what is surprising is how few seem to really appreciate that the best example to compare the fall of America with is the fall of Israel in the Old Testament. This is the best comparison precisely because the founding fathers extolled the Exodus generation and many Old Testament values that often ran counter to the Greco-Roman society of the ancient world.

The Old Testament is an incredible book, and it is a far better document illustrating the great problems that America is now currently facing precisely because it provides countless historical examples from ancient Israel.
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Rather than dabble with the fall of Rome, or suffer through the abstract read that is Plato’s Republic, it would be far easier if people would just open up their Old Testaments. The Old Testament is an incredible book, and it is a far better document illustrating the great problems that America is now currently facing precisely because it provides countless historical examples from ancient Israel – some 1,000 years to learn from. Indeed, it was the apostle Paul who remarked in his letter to the Corinthians that the Old Testament was full of types or historical examples that were “written for our instruction (1 Corinthians 10:11).” While the fall of Athens and Rome are still very useful warnings to modern America, the fall of Israel is still the supreme example par excellence.

More importantly, pastors in America need to re-open their Old Testaments once again. They need to teach books like Hosea, Amos and Micah to their congregations, if nothing else than to at least inform God’s people of the rise and fall of nations according to God’s true international social justice so that they can all be far better prepared for whatever may happen in the near or distant future. The apostle Paul taught the “whole counsel of God (Acts 20:25-32),” which certainly included the Old Testament. Too many of God’s shepherd’s in the church today are unfamiliar with the Old Testament, and this is perhaps the primary reason why an erroneous Christian Marxist social justice, otherwise known as Liberation Theology, has been slowly, but gradually, taking over the religious public discourse as of late.

Indeed, the whole concept of freedom under the rule of law and limited government, both of which used to be the rock solid foundation of the United States of America, are largely borne out of the Bible, not of out Greek philosopher kings like Plato, much less Roman senatorial aristocrats and despotic Caesars. Indeed, the whole point of the history of Moses and Exodus generation was to contrast freedom under the rule of Law against the pagan backdrop of mystical tyranny and nature worship (Exodus 20:1-17). It is no coincidence that right after God graciously freed the Hebrews slaves out of Egypt that He then gave them the Mosaic Law. This document – this constitution – was thus divinely designed to enable them to live freely under the rule of law in the promised land. This, in a nutshell, is the great theme of the books from Exodus to Deuteronomy.
                                
Indeed, the whole concept of freedom under the rule of law and limited government, both of which used to be the rock solid foundation of the United States of America, are largely borne out of the Bible, not of out Greek philosopher kings like Plato.
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God thus gave to Israel, not an abstract or religious freedom of some kind for philosophers or mystics to contemplate or dream about, but a freedom grounded in the reality of the ownership of private property, which was legally apportioned to every Hebrew family so they would no longer be slaves (Joshua 15-21). This is precisely what the Promised Land is all about. Religious freedom in the Old Testament therefore was not based simply on abstract religious principles, but closely tied to the concrete reality of the promised-land wherein Israel was afforded a real and tangible opportunity to cultivate the freedom which God gave them. The Mosaic Constitution is thus a great religious-political document which favors farmers over kings and despots. Would Pharaoh or his gods apportion to all the Egyptians a piece of real estate and allow them to freely live under the rule of law as depicted below?

Nature’s Economy in the Old Testament

• God is Creator/Owner of Nature (Genesis 1; Psalm 50)

• Polytheism, Idolatry and Nature Worship were Forbidden (Exodus 20:1-5; Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Hosea 4:12-13; Jeremiah 2:20; Ezekiel 6:13)

• Nature was Made for Man to Rule, Guard and Cultivate (Genesis -28; Psalm 8)

• The World is Designed to be Filled with Population (Genesis -28; 9:1)

• Animals are to be Cared for (Genesis 6; Exodus ; Proverbs 27:23)

• Freedom Under the Rule of Law is Assumed (Exodus; Deuteronomy)

• The Natural World is to be Farmed and Mined for Human Development (Deut 8:1-20)

• Agricultural and Financial Blessing Based on Disciplined Obedience to God (Deuteronomy 28; Proverbs)

• Private Property is to be Protected by Redemption Rights (Leviticus 25:23-34; Proverbs 23:10-11; Deuteronomy 23:24-25)

• Mosaic Economy Extolled the Virtues of Small Business and International Trade (Proverbs 31:10-31)

• Making Wealth Provides Opportunity for Generosity (Proverbs 31:20) 

• Diversify Portfolio Portion for your Protection (Ecclesiastes 11:2)

• Credit Economy and Debt was Frowned upon – but Not Illegal (Leviticus 25:1-22; 35-38; Deuteronomy -23)

• Charging Interest was Illegal for Hebrews – but not for Aliens (Exodus 22:25; Deuteronomy 23:19-20)

• Aliens Living in the Promised Land are to be Treated Well (Leviticus )

• Hebrews were Forbidden to Develop Idolatrous Practices of the Multicultural World around them inside the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 12:1-4; 2 Kings 17:7-18)

•  Oppression of Women and Servants was Forbidden (Exodus 21:20,22, 21:7-11, 22:22, Lev 18:1-18,19:29, Deuteronomy 24:14)
• Biblical Wisdom is Better than Riches (Proverbs ; 23:4-5)

• Being Generous to the Poor was not Government Welfare – but was Expected of Private Individuals – Poor People had to Work (Leviticus ; ; Isaiah 58:7-12)

• Government Welfare was Frowned upon (Numbers 11:1-6)

• Do not be Partial to the Poor Simply Because they are Poor (Exodus 23:3)

• Poverty is an Unfortunate Fact of Life (Deuteronomy 15:1-11)

•  Thorns and Thistles Hinder Farming Productivity. The Natural By-Product of Making Wealth is Pollution  (Genesis -19; Proverbs 14:4)

• The Land was to have Rest every 7 Years (Leviticus 25:1-4)

• The Work Week was 6 Days with the 7th Day being Designated as a Day of Rest (Exodus 20:8-11)

Perhaps even more critical is that even when Israel demanded a king to recover from the anarchic times of the Judges, as they greatly struggled to live freely under the rule of law without one, this was offered with great hesitation, and when it was finally granted, there was a warning attached to the people of Israel as to what the oppressive results would be (1 Sam 8:1-22)? It is also true that the Mosaic Law demanded that the king also live under its divine rule (Deut 17:14-20). They were not exempt from the Law just because they were kings. Moreover, though Israel was certainly a theocracy, it is still true that the Old Testament clearly provides a separation of powers between king, priest and prophet (2 Sam 12:1-15; 2 Chron 26:16-23). So the Old Testament not only teaches us about freedom under the rule of law, but also demands that government be both limited and divided in its power. All of this was a far cry to what other nations around Israel were practicing at the time.
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The work ethic, informed by an Old Testament Jewish heritage based on strong families and hard work, is what built the United States of America, which used to be envy of the world.
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 Perhaps more importantly, unlike the intellectual Greek leaders who largely disdained work and manual labor for example, the promised-land, regulated and informed by both the Mosaic Constitution and by the book of Proverbs, elevated thrift, industry and hard work to a level that was highly conspicuous in the ancient world. Is it really possible to build a modern economy with Greek intellectual elites on the one hand and Roman slaves on the other hand, all the while being suffocated under superstition, nature worship, gross immorality and debauchery all at the same time with no strong family life to train up children? The work ethic, informed by an Old Testament Jewish heritage based on strong families and hard work, is what built the United States of America, which used to be envy of the world, but the more America has fallen away from Biblical values, the more America has also fallen. This, of course, is all a direct result of drinking too much from the evolutionary wells of Hegel, Darwin, Marx and Freud. If one is just an evolutionary animal who just happened to accidently show up through a primal brutish osmosis of some sort, over time, what will that do to the role of the state in people’s lives, family values, the work force and economy, especially if one is genetically geared not to be responsible for much of anything?

Many, of course, get all upset with the Ten Commandments, but at least there were only ten for crying out loud. The simplicity of the U.S. Constitution, which one can place in his back pocket, coupled with the influence of the Ten Commandments, is far better than the silly maze of socialistic rules and regulations which are increasingly designed to try and stop bad things from happening to good people, a mystical fantasy land which not only defies common sense and reality, but which no rule or regulation can ever bring about anyway. The entire book of Job is classic on all this. One simply cannot regulate his way into Paradise. The Mosaic Law told people what was required under the Law, but never designed regulations in such a way to make sure that people would act accordingly. God made man in His image (Gen 1:24-31), and this means that God does not social engineer people to make sure that they live a certain way. God may have told the Jewish people what He demanded of them, but he never forced them to act that way like modern social engineers often do. This is tyranny – it actually removes the responsibilities of freedom, which is so critical if society is to function properly. These days, of course, America is suffocating under a plethora of so-called “progressive” rules and regulations which are increasingly preventing us from living a normal, free way of life precisely because bad exceptional cases are almost always used as the basis for passing yet even more rules and regulations. In short, bad cases make bad laws, something which our modern society has completely forgotten. When one uses exceptional cases as a basis for passing laws, it is impossible to live a normal way of life.
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America
is suffocating under a plethora of so-called “progressive” rules and regulations which are increasingly preventing us from living a normal, free way of life precisely because bad exceptional cases are almost always used as the basis for passing yet even more rules and regulations.
Closely related to this is that the Exodus generation also strongly teaches that freedom under the rule of law will be opposed by and large by the majority of people. The Hebrews actually hated Moses when he was alive, but venerated him greatly after he was dead. At one point during the wilderness journey, the Exodus generation was all ready to kill Moses and return back to Egypt (Numbers 14:1-10). That people inherently do not want the great responsibilities of living freely under the rule of law, but would rather sacrifice their lives to tyrannical pagan mysticism is no footnote in the Old Testament. This is largely what sin is all about. The failure of the Exodus generation to enter God's rest, i.e., to live freely under the rule of law with God as their king, is brought up time and time again as a negative example to avoid throughout the Old Testament (Psalm 78; 95; 106). In fact, seldom throughout their history did the Hebrews enjoy what God had richly provided them with. Good times like the days of David and Solomon were the exception, not the rule. In short, the Jewish people sinned too much against the Mosaic Constitution, which in turn, forfeited their blessings in the promised land, and enslaved them to false ideals and practices, especially with regard to nature worship. Elijah, for example, was basically taking on an early form of totalitarian environmentalism in his opposition to the green Baalism of the day, all with global warming and a Jewish dust bowl simmering in the background (1 Kings 17-18). Baal nature worship is the primary reason why the divided house of Israel and Judah were both sent to their respective captivities into Assyria and Babylon in 722 and 606-586 B.C. (2 Kings 17:28-41; Jeremiah 19:1-15).

In short, the Jewish people sinned too much against the Mosaic Constitution, which in turn, forfeited their blessings in the promised land, and enslaved them to false ideals and practices, especially with regard to nature worship.

As such, because of Israel’s continual religious-political failures, the New Testament comes out with much more ambivalent attitudes about politics and religion. Religious politics, as important as they may be, are not an end in themselves, and are better understood and practiced against the backdrop of the coming Messiah, who will rectify all these shortcomings by fulfilling in reality what the entire Mosaic Constitution portrayed, but could not bring about (Galatians 3:10-4:7; Hebrews 8:1-10:18). This also sets the stage for the separation of church and state when Jesus categorically told the Jews, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's (Luke 20:25)." The Jews were, of course, tired of paying taxes which not only were used for evil pagan practices, but also kept them enslaved. What they failed to understand and appreciate is that living freely under the rule of Law is an impossible task for sinful man (John 8:31-34; Galatians 3:10-11). The Mosaic Law, therefore, led to slavery rather than salvation – hence the great need for Messiah (Romans 3:1-26; 7:1-8:4). In the Bible, very broadly understood, the inadequacies of both politics and the law point to the necessity of a religious Messianic answer, which is not to be mystically understood, but is to be appreciated from a historical-prophetic point of view.

Finally, and closely connected to this, is that socialistic rules and regulations come a dime a dozen these days, largely because America has moved away from New Testament teaching which places a strong healthy skepticism upon the effectiveness of any law or regulation to change people, which the history of Israel has graphically portrayed for us throughout the pages of the Old Testament, not to mention the whole problem of legalism or lawyerism which the entire New Testament dwells on at great length, most notably in Romans and Galatians. In fact, contrary to popular opinion, freedom as a principle to be enjoyed and exercised with responsibility is actually one of the great themes of the Bible, stretching all the way from the Exodus generation in the Old Testament, to what Martin Luther called the Magna Carta of Christian liberty, the letter of Paul to the Galatians. Keep in mind that it was the lawyers of the day, i.e., the legalists, who not only trumped the original Mosaic Constitution with all kinds of extra additional rules and regulations to make sure people live right (Mark 7:1-23), but also crucified the Son of God (Matt 27:15-26), and later threw rocks at Paul wherever he proclaimed his law free gospel of liberty (Acts 13:26-14:22) that a man is justified before God on the basis of faith, not by religious works (Romans 4:1-16; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).
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Americans need to get back to their Bibles, without which, they will ever become more susceptible to mob rule, tyranny, nature worship, senatorial aristocrats, harassing lawyers, lax judges, corporate greed, and Machiavellian politics in general.

Americans need to get back to their Bibles, without which, they will ever become more susceptible to mob rule, tyranny, nature worship, senatorial aristocrats, harassing lawyers, lax judges, corporate greed, and Machiavellian politics in general. Without the God of the Bible as self described in the Old and New Testaments, one is left in the pigpen of paganism – a pigpen, however, which the prodigal son eventually escaped from precisely because of a serious and sober re-thinking of the circumstances of his life and how he got to be where he was (Luke 15:11-32). What America needs today is not an evolutionary transformation rooted in the failed politics of the past, but repentance.

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!

What is Sin?
The Gospel of John Challenge
Where is America in Biblical Prophecy?


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3 comments:

The Cold Texan said...

"What America needs today is not an evolutionary transformation rooted in the failed politics of the past, but repentance"

Great article!

I have read of great moves of God in the 17 and 18 hundreds that changed the whole nation. I believe nothing short of another Great move of God will turn the nation around. Think Jonah and the great repentance that happened in his day.

I have little hope this will happen before the return of our Lord, but it is our only hope short of the second coming.

The Cold Texan

jess said...

great article Dave , you nailed it exactly right

The Ignorant Fishermen said...

Jess, Thanks!... however my friend Mark wrote it. Be sure to check out his link!

God speed!

David