The Prologue and First Commandment: Part 2
Feb 27, 2007
The United States' Declaration of Independence fulfilled the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me" when it declared that God is the Author of all human rights. That is how the Supreme Court has interpreted its statement. The Declaration defined all men as being "equal," not insofar as mental, physical, or spiritual abilities are concerned, but in matters of government and self-rule.
In other words, kings and nobles have no more right to rule men than any other. Further, it says that rule comes only by the consent of the governed. This is the American idea of government.
The problem with the Declaration, however, is in the fact that it did not establish the Prologue of the Ten Commandments: "I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt." Nor did it tell us that "Yahweh has become my Yeshua" (Ex. 15:2; Isaiah 12:2, 3). In other words, the Declaration was deficient in that it did not tell us WHICH GOD it was that America was under.
We might wrangle over what they meant, but the fact is, the Declaration did not spell out which God was our King. This made it easy for later generations to include any and all gods as equals to Yahweh, or to say that Yahweh is the God of all religions. Not content with this, the secularists then removed God from government, denied any responsibility to be obedient to His laws, and dethroned God from His proper place over America.
"Freedom of Religion" then became applied as "freedom FROM Religion." Finally, in the past few decades America has moved toward the position of "freedom from Christianity." Most recently, we have begun to see the courts putting people in prison for sharing their Christian faith with others. Christian evangelism is fast becoming a "hate crime." In the natural progression of things, the laws give the appearance of being directed at "terrorist groups" (and by implication, Muslims), but in fact, those same laws are about to be used against Christians.
I do not think that this natural progression could have been prevented by a clearer definition of God in the Declaration of Independence, because all nations degenerate in time. We see this clearly in the case of the house of Israel in Bible times. Even a perfect law and very good leaders at the beginning (Moses and Joshua) could not prevent the degeneration of the nation in later years. Everything degenerates as long as the hearts of men remain essentially rebellious.
The solution to the problem is not political. Even if one could re-write the Declaration and insert "Jesus Christ" into it, and even if one could alter all the laws to reflect biblical values, the nation would fail to the degree that men's hearts are not changed. Good laws can only slow down the natural effects of mortal carnality. The real solution is for the Holy Spirit to change men's hearts from within, not to impose righteous laws upon a reluctant people from without.
This is the lesson of Scripture in the history of the house of Israel. This does not mean that the law is evil or should be discarded. Romans 7:12 says, "the law is . . . holy, and just, and good." Verse 14 says "the law is spiritual." The law is the righteous standard that defines sin (Rom. 3:20; 1 John 3:4). But the means of attaining to that righteous standard is not possible by legislation of law, but through in inward change of the heart by the Spirit of God.
For this reason, I teach the law to establish the standard of righteousness as set forth in the mind of God--but I look for and pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who will write that law in our hearts.
The First Commandment establishes One God for the nation. That One God is the Source of all human law. No man, therefore, has the right to legislate any law that would contradict the law of the One God who stands sovereign over the nation. Our legislators violate this principle every time they pass a law that is inconsistent with biblical law. Our judges violate this principle every time they interpret a law in a way that is inconsistent with biblical law--or any time the courts uphold a law passed by the legislature that is inconsistent with biblical law.
In the Tabernacles Age to come, Christian nations will be established all over the earth. They will declare Jesus Christ to be their King, and their Constitutions and laws will be consistent with the Scripture. The perfected overcomers, having the full mind of Christ and being unfettered by the chains of mortality, will be the highest judges and rulers in these nations. The law will then be interpreted according to the mind of Christ and applied accordingly.
To be a citizen in a Christian nation, one must swear allegiance to King Jesus and agree to be obedient to His law. Then, even if the person were to violate the law later, he would still be held accountable for his actions. But let us not think that such a nation would imitate a rabbinical state or revert to an Old Testament mentality. Such a nation would be quite different from the ancient house of Israel or of Judah. The rulers and judges would not be legalistic Pharisees and Sadducees, whose interpretations of the law ("traditions") actually destroyed the law (Mark 7:6-9).
When Jesus instituted the New Covenant, as prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Deut. 30:6, there were certain changes made in the form, application, and administrators of the law. These things are discussed in the Book of Hebrews, besides the actual misinterpretations of the law that Jesus discussed in His Sermon on the Mount. A Christian nation in the Passover Age (from Moses to Christ) was different from a Christian nation in the Pentecostal Age (between the two comings of Christ). The Christian nations in the Tabernacles Age will again be different, particularly insofar as the administrators are concerned.
In the Passover Age, the administrators were the Levites and priests. In the Pentecostal Age the administrators were those who received the earnest of the Spirit. In the Tabernacles Age the administrators will be those who have received the fullness of the Spirit. But even then, only the leaders will be perfected and immortal. These are the ones called forth at the sound of the trumpet (Num. 10:4; 1 Cor. 15:52). The rest of the people will yet be mortal and imperfect, and for this reason they will still need administration and laws to govern them.
Life will certainly be better in every way. No doubt there will be divine health, and life spans will increase (Isaiah 65:20). Nations will beat their swords into ploughshares (Isaiah 2:4), and wars will largely cease. But this will be only the great Sabbath millennium of rest that God gives the earth that precedes the Great White Throne Judgment. The Age that follows the Tabernacles Age will see monumental changes. The reign of Christ will continue in this new phase "till He has put all enemies under His feet" (1 Cor. 15:25). At the very end, when all enemies have been put under His feet, then death itself will be abolished (1 Cor. 15:26), for death is a divine judgment for sin, and when sin is abolished, death will also be abolished.
Then will all things truly be under His feet, and the Son will then present the Father with the perfected Kingdom, that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28). This is the final Restoration of All Things contemplated in Scripture and set forth as the Hope of Creation. Then will the First Commandment be fulfilled, no longer as a command, but as a prophetic statement: "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."
This is the second part of a series titled "The Prologue and the First Commandment." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones