History Facts: Real Story of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Stories the Teacher is not Teaching our Children

History Facts: Real Story of Thanksgiving

key “Here’s the part that’s been omitted…”  I’ll come back with the part that is omitted from modern day textbooks for young children in the schools. ~Rush Limbaugh

plymouth-colony-AA group of separatists first fled to Holland and established a community. “After eleven years, about forty of them agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where they would certainly face hardships, but could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from?

bible1“From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work. But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford’s detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote.

“There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims — including Bradford’s own wife — died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.” For a long time, many of them continued to live on the Mayflower. There was nowhere else to live. “When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats. Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper!

“This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives,” and teaching them to grow food and eat and all that, “rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments.” The Bible. Remember, these were religious people. They set out on a journey to a place that they had no idea of, and they just found barren wilderness.

thanksgiving1stThe very idea that they survived — even before they began to prosper, the very idea that they just survived — was what gave them pause to thank God. That was the original Thanksgiving, and that’s not taught. The original Thanksgiving is taught as, “If it weren’t for the Indians, Pilgrims would have died. The Indians saved their bacon! The Indians saved them.” It’s an understandable effort here, but that’s not what happened, is the point. “Here’s the part that’s been omitted…”  I’ll come back with the part that is omitted from modern day textbooks for young children in the schools.

RUSH: We are back with the original, the true story of Thanksgiving, as written by me See, I Told You So, Chapter 6: “Dead White Guys, What the History Books Never Told You, The True Story of Thanksgiving — “Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors…” in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community,” all 40 of them, “was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. “

Mayflower-compact-hero2-AIt was a commune. It was socialism! Because they wanted to be fair. “They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks. “It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the ’60s and ’70s out in California — and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way,” in case you’d like to know. “Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives,” and half the people weren’t carrying their weight, didn’t have to.

“He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage,” and they got to keep the bulk of what they produced, “thus turning loose the power of the marketplace. That’s right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn’t work! … “What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation!

“But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years … the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild’s history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future. ‘The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years,'” meaning it was tough for a long time, “‘that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing — as if they were wiser than God,’ Bradford wrote.”

Meaning: We thought we knew, but we were wrong.

“‘For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense…that was thought injustice.'” So what happened was, the hard workers began to see a bunch of slackers. Even in the first Pilgrims, they had a bunch of slackers, and they said, “What the hell are we doing? If everybody’s getting an equal share here and half of these people aren’t working, to hell with this!” and they threw it out.

William Bradford wrote about it in the journal. “The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford’s community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work,” and they were permitted to use it as they saw fit, “and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? ‘This had very good success,’ wrote Bradford, ‘for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.'”

bradfordwilliamThey had surpluses. You know what they did with the surpluses? They shared them with the Indians. Capitalism, as opposed to socialism, produced abundance, the likes of which they had never experienced. They remembered the help they got when they first landed from the Indians. They shared their abundance. That’s the first Thanksgiving: A thanks to God for their safety, a thanks to God for their discovery, and a thanks to the Indians by sharing the abundance that they themselves produced after first trying what could only be called today Obamaism or Clintonism or socialism.

That, my friends, is the real story of Thanksgiving.

It’s not taught. It is not explained anywhere. The original story of Thanksgiving stops where the Indians saw these newly arrived, struggling Europeans who did not know what to do, and showed them how to plant corn and all that. Meaning the first Thanksgiving is: “If it weren’t for Indians…” So that has led us to today where Obama says the Indians are the only ones that have any real right to be offended at immigration. I try to tell this story every year on the day before Thanksgiving on the EIB Network. I do. And as I say, we’ve written an entire book for children about this featuring time travel with Rush Revere and his talking horse, Liberty, that take children back to Holland.

They make the journey with the Pilgrims across the Atlantic Ocean.

They’re there and get to know Bradford and so forth.

It’s the way we decided to teach history, by actually taking these young readers to these events and making them part of them. Kathryn and I are abundantly thankful for all of you for making our lives and the lives of our families so rich and rewarding. The true story of Thanksgiving for us is how fortunate we all are to have people like you in our lives and compromising this audience. We hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your family. We hope that it’s everything that you want it to be, hope you’re able to get there if you intend to go. But regardless, if you’re able to make it or not, we hope that your Thanksgiving gives you time to pause and give thanks for the great fortune we all have to be Americans.

Christian Story: Armor of God

Dinner Topics for Friday

Bible Quotes

ShieldresizeFor we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ~Ephesians 6:12-17

Outfitting for the Epic Journey

“Above all, taking the shield of faith. . .”       

One taking a long journey has more peace of mind if properly outfitted.  Saint Paul outlines the elements best suited for the epic journey called life. (Ephesians 6:11-17)  It is easy to take our feet for granted, until they hurt. Having your feet well shod, therefore, is vital.  Without this preparation, it is futile to expect to walk the long road, or even to be able to stand firmly.

Next is to be girt about with truth, and have on the breastplate of righteousness.  Obedience to God is the habit of a free man.   This obedience makes a good breastplate, because it protects a heart which is soft and teachable, which is humble and submissive to the divine will.

When you put on the helmet of salvation, you are taking on the name of your Redeemer.  If, wherever you go, you always remember Him, the Spirit will never fail you, and you will never forget who you are.

Now, above all, taking the shield of faith.  But with all this, how will we see where we are going when it is dark?

Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of earlier days when he worked for the railroad, and he wondered how the engineer, traveling at such a dangerous speed, could see into the darkness. Then he realized it was not one long journey, but rather a constant continuation of a short journey. The engine’s powerful headlight could brighten the way for a distance of up to 500 yards.  The engineer could see to the edge of the light, and that was enough, because that headlight was constantly before him through the night, until the dawn.

He explains that in like manner we proceed on our eternal journey, one step at a time. We travel into the unknown, but the headlight of faith always lights the way before us.  If our faith keeps that light bright, we will never walk in darkness.

Copyright 2010 © C.A. Davidson

Equip your young people the Armor of God

Action Plan—START HERE

 

 

Valentine Bible Story

Dinner Topics for Valentine Day

keyoldBut charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. (Moroni 7:47)

JacobRachel2On his way to Padan-aram, where Rachel lived, Jacob had a dream about a ladder which reached up to heaven. Each rung of that ladder represented covenants he needed to keep in order to reach the celestial realm.  He was promised that he and all his seed would be blessed.

When he reached the well near Haran, he found a huge stone over the mouth of it. Three flocks were lying by it, waiting for the shepherds to unite their strength to push the stone out of the way.  After the sheep were watered, they put the stone back over the well’s mouth.

Jacob inquired after his relatives, and the men of Haran pointed out Rachel, Jacob’s cousin, who was coming with her sheep to the well.

“It is too early in the day for the cattle to gather here,” he said to the men.  “Why don’t you water her sheep now?”

“We can’t,” they replied, “until all the flocks are gathered together and they roll the stone from the well’s mouth.  Then we can water the sheep.”

JacobmoverockBut when Jacob saw Rachel, he strode over, rolled the great stone himself, and watered her flocks.  But that is not all.  Jacob went on to serve seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

Before Jacob met Rachel, he had learned from his dream that he wanted an eternal family.  Rachel gave shape to that vision.  When he saw Rachel, his love for her gave him the power to roll that stone away from the well all by himself.  His understanding of God’s great love for him, together with his deep love for Rachel, made joyful a commitment which could otherwise have been unbearably long and trying.  The seven years seemed like days to him.

Perhaps there is a heavy stone blocking the mouth of the well, and keeping us from drinking the living waters of the gospel.  It might be fear, or discord.  It might be unwillingness to sacrifice our time, or give of our substance.  It might be apathy, in which perhaps we are wasting time waiting for someone else to move that stone.

JacobRachelA prophet of ancient Israel said, “Perfect love casteth out all fear.” Once we catch the immense vision of discipleship and service, then realizing that vision no longer seems hopeless or impossible to endure.  It becomes a joy.  It is love that helps us forgo our irritations with the defects in others.  It is love that causes us to forget about ourselves and care about others.  It is the power of love that heals relationships and softens hearts.  Love gives us the power to do things which on the surface seem impossible or unbearable.  It was because of love that Jesus Christ suffered the unbearable.  It was this love that gave a compassionate Father the capacity to endure the anguish of permitting that infinite sacrifice— so that we could enter his presence someday, which would otherwise be impossible.

Dinner Talk Topic: This story illustrates perfect love.*Love, Charity

1. What stones are in our lives that we need to roll out of the way?

2.  How can we get out of the Lord’s way?

3.  How does getting thoroughly involved in the Lord’s work help us deal with adversities and stop dwelling on our own imperfections?

4.  Jacob loved Rachel so much that he totally forgot himself.  How does this compare to the pure love of Christ?

Copyright © 2010 C.A. Davidson

Gospel Teachings: Parable of the Sower

Dinner Talk Topics for Friday

Gospel Teachings: Parable of the Sower

By Dallin H. Oaks

 

keyIt is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful.

parableofsowerThe parable of the sower is one of a small number of parables reported in all three of the synoptic Gospels. It is also one of an even smaller group of parables Jesus explained to His disciples. The seed that was sown was “the word of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:19), “the word” (Mark 4:14), or “the word of God” (Luke 8:11)—the teachings of the Master and His servants.

The different soils on which the seeds fell represent different ways in which mortals receive and follow these teachings. Thus the seeds that “fell by the way side” (Mark 4:4) have not reached mortal soil where they might possibly grow. They are like teachings that fall upon a heart hardened or unprepared. I will say nothing more of these. My message concerns those of us who have committed to be followers of Christ. What do we do with the Savior’s teachings as we live our lives?

The parable of the sower warns us of circumstances and attitudes that can keep anyone who has received the seed of the gospel message from bringing forth a goodly harvest.

I. Stony Ground, No Root

parable-sower6Some seed “fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away” (Mark 4:5–6).

Jesus explained that this describes those “who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness,” but because they “have no root in themselves, … when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended” (Mark 4:16–17).

What causes hearers to “have no root in themselves”? This is the circumstance of new members who are merely converted to the missionaries or to the many attractive characteristics of the Church or to the many great fruits of Church membership. Not being rooted in the word, they can be scorched and wither away when opposition arises. But even those raised in the Church—long-term members—can slip into a condition where they have no root in themselves. I have known some of these—members without firm and lasting conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are not rooted in the teachings of the gospel and regular in its practices, any one of us can develop a stony heart, which is stony ground for spiritual seeds.

Spiritual food is necessary for spiritual survival, especially in a world that is moving away from belief in God and the absolutes of right and wrong. In an age dominated by the Internet, which magnifies messages that menace faith, we must increase our exposure to spiritual truth in order to strengthen our faith and stay rooted in the gospel.

Young people, if that teaching seems too general, here is a specific example. If the emblems of the sacrament are being passed and you are texting or whispering or playing video games or doing anything else to deny yourself essential spiritual food, you are severing your spiritual roots and moving yourself toward stony ground. You are making yourself vulnerable to withering away when you encounter tribulation like isolation, intimidation, or ridicule. And that applies to adults also.

II. Thorns: The Cares of This World and the Deceitfulness of Riches

parable-sower5 Jesus taught that “some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit” (Mark 4:7). He explained that these are “such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:18–19). This is surely a warning to be heeded by all of us.

I will speak first of the deceitfulness of riches. Wherever we are in our spiritual journey—whatever our state of conversion—we are all tempted by this. When attitudes or priorities are fixed on the acquisition, use, or possession of property, we call that materialism. So much has been said and written about materialism that little needs to be added here.2 Those who believe in what has been called the theology of prosperity are suffering from the deceitfulness of riches. The possession of wealth or significant income is not a mark of heavenly favor, and their absence is not evidence of heavenly disfavor. When Jesus told a faithful follower that he could inherit eternal life if he would only give all that he had to the poor (see Mark 10:17–24), He was not identifying an evil in the possession of riches but an evil in that follower’s attitude toward them. As we are all aware, Jesus praised the good Samaritan, who used the same coinage to serve his fellowman that Judas used to betray his Savior. The root of all evil is not money but the love of money (see 1 Timothy 6:10).

The Book of Mormon tells of a time when the Church of God “began to fail in its progress” (Alma 4:10) because “the people of the church began to … set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world” (Alma 4:8). Whoever has an abundance of material things is in jeopardy of being spiritually “sedated” by riches and other things of the world.3 That is a suitable introduction to the next of the Savior’s teachings.

parable-sower1The most subtle thorns to choke out the effect of the gospel word in our lives are the worldly forces that Jesus called the “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14). These are too numerous to recite. Some examples will suffice.

On one occasion Jesus rebuked His chief Apostle, saying to Peter, “Thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23; see also D&C 3:6–7; 58:39). Savoring the things of men means putting the cares of this world ahead of the things of God in our actions, our priorities, and our thinking.

We surrender to the “pleasures of this life” (1) when we are addicted, which impairs God’s precious gift of agency; (2) when we are beguiled by trivial distractions, which draw us away from things of eternal importance; and (3) when we have an entitlement mentality, which impairs the personal growth necessary to qualify us for our eternal destiny.

parable-sower4We are overcome by the “cares … of this life” when we are paralyzed by fear of the future, which hinders our going forward in faith, trusting in God and His promises. Twenty-five years ago my esteemed BYU teacher Hugh W. Nibley spoke of the dangers of surrendering to the cares of the world. He was asked in an interview whether world conditions and our duty to spread the gospel made it desirable to seek some way to “be accommodating of the world in what we do in the Church.”4

quote-oaks-sowerHis reply: “That’s been the whole story of the Church, hasn’t it? You have to be willing to offend here, you have to be willing to take the risk. That’s where the faith comes in. … Our commitment is supposed to be a test, it’s supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to be impractical in the terms of this world.”5

This gospel priority was affirmed on the BYU campus just a few months ago by an esteemed Catholic leader, Charles J. Chaput, the archbishop of Philadelphia. Speaking of “concerns that the LDS and Catholic communities share,” such as “about marriage and family, the nature of our sexuality, the sanctity of human life, and the urgency of religious liberty,” he said this:

“I want to stress again the importance of really living what we claim to believe. That needs to be a priority—not just in our personal and family lives but in our churches, our political choices, our business dealings, our treatment of the poor; in other words, in everything we do.”

“Here’s why that’s important,” he continued. “Learn from the Catholic experience. We Catholics believe that our vocation is to be leaven in society. But there’s a fine line between being leaven in society, and being digested by society.”6

The Savior’s warning against having the cares of this world choke out the word of God in our lives surely challenges us to keep our priorities fixed—our hearts set—on the commandments of God and the leadership of His Church.

parable-sower2The Savior’s examples could cause us to think of this parable as the parable of the soils. The suitability of the soil depends upon the heart of each one of us who is exposed to the gospel seed. In susceptibility to spiritual teachings, some hearts are hardened and unprepared, some hearts are stony from disuse, and some hearts are set upon the things of the world.

III. Fell into Good Ground and Brought Forth Fruit

parable-harvest-wheatThe parable of the sower ends with the Savior’s description of the seed that “fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit” in various measures (Matthew 13:8). How can we prepare ourselves to be that good ground and to have that good harvest?

parable-sower3Jesus explained that “the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). We have the seed of the gospel word. It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful. We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Colossians 2:6–7). We achieve this conversion by praying, by scripture reading, by serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be with us. We must also seek that mighty change of heart (see Alma 5:12–14) that replaces evil desires and selfish concerns with the love of God and the desire to serve Him and His children.

I testify of the truth of these things, and I testify of our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose teachings point the way and whose Atonement makes it all possible.

Culture Wars: Church and State Issues and Illegal Immigration

Culture Wars: Church and State Issues and Illegal Immigration

 

Critical Thinking

church-state2-reaganChurch and State: Where do we draw the Line?

C .A. Davidson

The overall responsibility of our nation is to protect her citizens from foreign invasion and crimes against other citizens, and to uphold Constitutional law. We already have laws governing immigration and citizenship.

No matter what your religion, you are still subject to the laws of the land which are in place to protect civilized society. Most religions are generally peace-loving, abiding by moral laws based on the Ten Commandments. Other than Islam (and in some countries, atheism, which is also a religion), I don’t know of other religions which condone rape, murder, deceit, and the suppression of free speech.      American citizens have freedom of religion, as long as they don’t infringe on the rights and freedoms of others. Churches can excommunicate a member for church-state1-madison-quoteimmoral conduct, but cannot put a person in prison. If someone commits a crime that endangers society, such as stealing or murder, it is no longer a Church issue—it becomes the jurisdiction of the State. That person is subject to the laws of the land, no matter what his religion. We have seen Christians put in prison for committing crimes. That is as it should be for Muslims as well, or for any other religion. The minute your religion violates another person’s life or property, it becomes political.

Furthermore, whereas citizens are required to abide by the law, illegal immigrants are already outside the law. The policy of Open Borders should not even be debatable, as it is inherently illegal.

In the following article, Ed Vitagliano does much to clarify the line between church and state, religion and politics.

Immigration: thinking biblically

Ed Vitagliano

bible-word-of-godAs we wrestle with such weighty matters, it is critical that Christians turn to Scripture for guidance as much as possible.

Some Christians believe the Bible is clear on these matters, citing Old Testament passages such as Leviticus 19:34: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God” (NIV).

From the New Testament, some Christians argue that the command to love your neighbor requires America – a so-called Christian nation – to help those in need.

However, if we are concerned with “accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15*), here are some things to remember:

  1. Biblical passages that address individual Christians – or the church – don’t necessarily apply to governments.
    There is no doubt that Christ commanded Christians to be generous, to care for those in need, and to love our neighbor.

However, does this apply to government programs? May Christians who have the power to vote – as do those in the West – use that power to bring the government into the equation? Absolutely.

welfare-government-charity-madisonHowever, must Christians vote to do so? And if Christians do vote to do so, how much government activity should we demand? How much tax money should be allocated? What sort of programs must we call for? Food stamps only? Job training programs? Is there ever a time when someone should cease getting aid?

These questions are vexing, but here’s the problem: At this point the Bible ceases to be a guide.

Instead, at this point it becomes a matter of sound judgment, not biblical injunction. Christians, like everyone else, make their case in the public square and attempt to persuade others to join them.

Here is the principle: Biblically speaking, the government is not the same as the individual Christian, and it is not the same as the church. Therefore, believers must be careful not to apply to government Scriptures intended for the church.

For example, Jesus said, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).

ImmigrationCriminalsSo, we must conclude that individual Christians are to forgive their enemies. But must we also conclude that governments should forgive their enemies? Must we demand that criminals convicted of crimes be released and not sent to prison?

The application of this principle is that individual Christians should help refugees who are in our nation. But the issue of who we allow in – and how many – is not a biblical matter. It is a political matter.

  1. Understanding the proper biblical function of government is critical to this debate.
    Many Christians fail to understand the purpose of government in a fallen world, and they act as if the matter is irrelevant to Christians focused on the eternal kingdom. But God has ordained government to serve His purposes on the earth as surely as He has ordained the church to carry out its assigned role.

Romans 13 makes plain the fact that governments derive their authority from God and are considered ministers or servants of Yahweh (vv. 1, 4). They help order human existence, represent the authority of God Himself, restrain evil, and reward good.

Therefore one must assume that a government has both the right and the responsibility before God to maintain order. Surely that would include providing for national borders – which might require restricting immigration and the flow of refugees across them.

More than Platitudes

trojan-horse-isisU.S. ever seem to wrestle with this matter. Invariably their responses are: “Yes, of course, the government should establish secure borders and enforce laws, but ….”

Such a proclamation is not helpful. In fact, it does not wrestle with the subtleties of the issue at all. A viable resolution requires more than platitudes.

We need these questions answered: Should a government allow every refugee who wants to enter the country to do so? No? Then exactly how should a government decide who and how many?

If a Christian insists that “love your neighbor” requires us (as a country) to accept, say, more Syrian refugees, then that Christian cannot restrict the refugee process at all. The moment a Christian says a government can be loving and restrict the refugee process, the Christian has then admitted that the political process must take place. In other words, the government must be allowed to do its job.

But if it does its job and restricts the refugee process, that Christian cannot argue that the country is no longer being loving. Why? Because the Bible does not quantify how many refugees a country must allow. Once again, that is a matter of sound judgment, rather than a biblical command.

  1. Old Testament passages dealing with immigration, refugees, or foreigners in Israel do not apply to our current political debates.
    It is clear that Old Testament passages (e.g., Leviticus 19:34) required God’s people to love and treat respectfully non-Jews who were living among them or passing through.

However, such verses merely assume that certain people would fall into those categories because transient peoples were common in the ancient world. Virtually all societies, and especially those in that part of the world – in the middle of major trade routes – were quite used to seeing trade caravans passing through and foreigners who stayed for a few months conducting business.

These biblical references instruct God’s people to treat lovingly those who were already passing through. The more likely parallel would be: How should Christians today treat legal immigrants who are in our midst?

  1. Passages that apply to Israel do not always apply to other nations like the U.S.
    It is probably safe to assume that Leviticus 19:34 requires Christians not only to help the foreigners already in their midst, but also to press their government to do likewise.

israel_flagSometimes the moral force behind a commandment given to Israel is universal in its application. But this is not always the case. Great care should be exercised when attempting to stretch a passage that might apply only to Israel and make it universally binding.

2 Chronicles 7:14 is a classic example of a promise made to Israel that evangelicals often stretch to apply to America – or some other nation.

There are certainly principles in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that should encourage American Christians to repent and pray and seek revival for their land. But it is not a covenant promise from God. He has not obligated Himself to save America as He obligated Himself to respond to the prayers of His people in the Old Testament.

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Vitagliano on this particular point. America is a choice land, with a Constitution created by men raised up by God for that purpose. References to Zion may even include America. Isaiah prophesied for all time, especially for our time. He said, “Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3) God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He keeps His promises; He favors the righteous, but not any particular race. He has already blessed America greatly because of our Judeo-Christian culture. Why wouldn’t He honor, even empower, our efforts for a revival? ~C.D.

As the immigration debate demonstrates, there is nothing simple about trying to interpret the Bible in the often overheated atmosphere of the culture wars of 2015. If we are to sort out the implications of such issues, it will require that all of us in the body of Christ jump into the debate.

The worst thing we can do is to accuse our brothers and sisters of disobeying Christ or not loving their neighbors when we disagree. Unity in the body of Christ is imperative if we are to be the light He commands us to be.

*Unless otherwise noted, the New American Standard Version is used throughout this article.

US Constitution Series 9: Divine Law vs. Big Government

God’s Law Protects Us from Tyranny

keyThe practical application of this book review of Skousen’s educated wisdom is to leverage “We, The People’s” knowledge to easily expose ignorance, anarchy and tyranny, and hold the government accountable.

From The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

US Constitution Series 9: To Protect Man’s Rights, God has Revealed Certain Principles of Divine Law

Rights, though endowed by God as unalienable prerogatives, could not remain unalienable unless they were protected as enforceable rights under a code of divinely proclaimed law.

[The Creator is not only all-powerful], but as He is also a Being of infinite wisdom, he has laid down only such laws as were founded in those relations of justice …These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all His dispensations conforms. Such …are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render to everyone his due.

The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed … tend in all their consequences to man’s felicity [happiness]. (Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England. 1:29-60, 64)

Moses and 10 cropThis divine pattern of law for human happiness requires acknowledgment and acceptance of certain principles; these are widely known as the famous Ten Commandments.

  • God is supreme
  • Man is specifically forbidden to attribute God’s power to false gods
  • The name of God is to be held in reverence, and every oath taken in the name of God is to be carried out with the utmost fidelity, otherwise the name of God would be taken in vain
  • There is also a requirement that one day each week be set aside for the study of God’s law
  • It is also to be a day of worship and the personal renewing of one’s commitment to obey God’s law for happy living
  • There are also requirements to strengthen family ties by children honoring parents and parents maintaining the sanctity of their marriage and not committing adultery after marriage
  • Human life is also to be kept sacred; he who willfully and wantonly takes the life of another must forfeit his own
  • A person shall not lie
  • A person shall not steal
  • Every person must be willing to work for the things he desires from life and not covet and scheme to get things which belong to his neighbor. (Skousen, pp.132-133)

 

Divine Law endows Mankind with Duties as well as Rights

In recent years the universal emphasis on “rights” has seriously obscured the unalienable duties which are imposed upon mankind by divine law.

 

“Man has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Examples of Public and Private Duties

responsibilityPublic duties relate to public morality and are usually supported by local or state ordinances which can be enforced by local police.

Private duties are those which exist between the individual and his Creator. These are called principles of private morality, and the only enforcement agency is the self-discipline of the individual himself.

Here are some of the more important responsibilities which the Creator has imposed on every human being of normal mental capacity—Duties:

  • To honor the supremacy of the Creator and his laws.
  • Not to take the life of another except in self-defense.
  • Not to steal or destroy the property of another.
  • To be honest in all transactions with others.
  • Children are to honor and obey their parents and elders.
  • Parents and elders are to protect, teach, feed, clothe, and provide shelter for children.
  • To support law and order and keep the peace.
  • Not to contrive through a covetous heart to despoil another.
  • To provide insofar as possible for the needs of the helpless—the sick, the crippled, the injured, the poverty-stricken.
  • To honorably perform contracts and covenants both with God and man.
  • To be temperate.
  • To become economically self-sufficient.
  • Not to trespass on the property or privacy of another.
  • To maintain the integrity of the family structure.
  • To perpetuate the race.
  • Not to promote or participate in the vices which destroy personal and community life.
  • To perform civic responsibilities—vote, assist public officials, serve in official capacities when called upon, stay informed on public issues, volunteer where needed.
  • Not to aid or abet those involved in criminal or anti-social activities.
  • To support personal and public standards of common decency.
  • To follow rules of moral rectitude. (Skousen, pp.133-135)

 

God’s revealed law provided true “justice” with the law of “reparation”—repairing the damage, requiring the criminal to pay for damages and also punitive damages for all the trouble caused, to remind him not to do it again. This system of justice through reparation was practiced anciently, and is adopted by some states today. The “reparation” system requires the judge to call in the victim and consult with him or her before passing sentence.

 

Should Taxpayers Compensate Victims of Crimes?

In some status, the victims of criminal activities may apply to the state for damages. This most unfortunate policy is a counter-productive procedure which encourages crime rather than deters it.

seal-of-the-united-states-originalWhat if a law is passed by Congress or some legislature which is contrary to God’s law?

God’s law is the supreme law of the land.

Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator. It is binding over all the globe in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this. ~Blackstone

But who will decide? When it comes to lawmaking, the nations of most of the world throughout history have been subject to the whims and arbitrary despotism of kings, emperors, and magistrates. How can the people be protected from the autocratic authority of their rulers? Where does the source of sovereign authority lie?

 

This question is answered in Principle 10.

Next:

US Constitution Series 10: The God-given Right to Govern is Vested in the Sovereign Authority of the Whole People.

 

 

US Constitution Series 8: Men are Endowed by their Creator with Certain Unalienable Rights

US Constitution Series 8: Life, Liberty, Property are Rights from God