Repentance in America--Part 5
Apr 08, 2008
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Roman Church filled the power vacuum and gradually asserted authority over the other churches. This was resisted for centuries, and even resulted in a split between the Eastern and Western churches--that is, between the Eastern "Orthodox" and the Western "Roman" churches.
Because both churches were closely allied to political emperors and kings over the centuries, their theory of government was based largely upon that of King Saul. Recall that the people had demanded a king like the other nations, and so God gave them Saul, who did indeed rule under the same political theory as the other kings of the earth.
That basic theory came to be called Rex Lex, "the king is law." It established the divine right of kings to rule over commoners. It is certain that King Saul was divinely appointed to rule over Israel. But God never gave Saul the right to rule over God Himself. Instead, Saul was supposed to be "under God." Yet when he rebelled against God, he usurped the position of God and made himself into a little god. That was the underlying heart of his problem of rebellion. All of his rebellious acts were mere results of his heart-rebellion.
Saul established the prophetic type of the Church as it developed over the centuries. The principle of Rex Lex implied that the king's will was the law, and the law changed according to the will of the king. In other words, the king stood above the law and was its master. The kings may have given lip service to the divine law, but they always found a way to overrule God's law whenever it hindered them from fulfilling their own desires.
The invention of the printing press in the mid-1400's then began to place inexpensive Bibles into the hands of the common people. These Bibles were being translated into the common languages of the people at the same time. The Church fought hard against this, and many translators lost their lives to give us the Scriptures. But the Church lost this fight and eventually gave it up as a lost cause.
Men then began to study the Scriptures outside of the confines of the religious system. Being allowed to think for themselves, they came to see that the established Church had strayed far from the Kingdom of God portrayed in Scripture. They became protesters and were called "Protestants."
As these Bible scholars pondered the divine law, they discovered that the basic theory of government, supported by and claimed by the Church, was wrong. The idea of Rex Lex was being applied to both kings and the popes in a show of mutual support. But these Protestants discovered that both the kings and the popes had rebelled against the divine law and had usurped His throne unlawfully.
In 1644 Samuel Rutherford wrote a book called Lex Rex, wherein he refuted Rex Lex, the law is king, saying instead that the king is subject to the law of God. All men were to have equal justice under the law from the kings to the paupers. John Locke followed up in 1690 with his "Two Treatises of Government," refuting the idea of the absolute sovereignty of kings. These two books became the textbooks of American political thought. This is the great Protestant heritage that America received. The power of feudalism prevalent in Europe was broken in America.
But the other side fought back. In 1651 Thomas Hobbes published a book called The Leviathan, in which he theorized that individuals (common people) were constantly warring against each other and needed rulers to keep the peace. He rejected divine law, and rejected the idea that rights came from God. Political power, to him, were necessarily absolute and had no limits. He called this powerLeviathan.
This was, no doubt, an appropriate name for such raw physical power exercised by whoever was in power. The spirit of Leviathan can be seen working in most (if not all) the governments in today's world.
An attorney, Wayne Holstad, wrote a book called Leviticus v. Leviathan, in which he set forth the choice that Americans are faced with. We may either be ruled by Leviathan or by Leviticus. Leviathan is a metaphor for raw power exercised by rulers, while Leviticus is a metaphor for a nation under God and being ruled by the Divine Law. Holstad wrote on page 248:
"Leviticus establishes a system of law and government based on divine sovereignty and it is a symbol of the special revelation of Scripture that traditionally formed the basis of Common Law and America's Constitutional Law.
"Leviathan, by contrast, establishes a system of law and government dependent on the will of a small group of flawed humans, whose right to rule springs from power, position, and wealth, and that answers only to the few.
"For Leviticus to succeed, citizens and government must submit to the absolute sovereignty of the omnipotent God. For Leviathan to succeed, citizens must submit to the absolute sovereignty of all-powerful humans. Under Leviathan, human rights are alienable, deriving their status from the government, and they can be stripped away at its whim. Under Leviticus, inalienable human rights derive from the Hand of God, and no government can strip them away."
This is the core issue, insofar as government is concerned. But even government is not the absolute core issue, because government is only a reflection of the heart of the people. Government, then, will not change without a heart change in the citizenry. If we attempt to make changes in government without first changing the hearts of the people, we are sure to fail. Even if we were to succeed, the people would soon elect a new batch of representatives who would revert back to the system of Leviathan.
This is why it is essential to work and pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And even then, a mere Pentecostal revival is insufficient, because that feast is leavened (Lev. 23:17). Pentecostal revivals are good as far as they go, but most people do not know the true purpose of Pentecost, and so things go back to business as usual after the emotion of the moment is gone.
Pentecost is a celebration of the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai (Ex. 20), when God was crowned Israel's King, and He came to dwell in the tabernacle. The purpose of Pentecost is to teach obedience, to write the law on our hearts, and to teach the people to hear His voice and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Yet most of Pentecost is leavened--that is, it is lawless. Instead of writing the law on our hearts, the people want to cast the law aside. In so doing, they inadvertently choose the ways of Leviathan and elect another Saul as their king.
On April 26 there will be a rally in Washington DC and in every other state capital called ReignDown USA.
President Bush has agreed to participate. My suggestion to him, if I were asked, would be to issue an Executive Order declaring that God is hereby reinstated as King over America, as the Declaration of Independence says. This Executive Order should also state specifically that from this moment on, only those rights that are given in the Bible are, in fact, rights; while all others are relegated to the legal status of mere government privileges. While he is at it, it would be helpful to rescind all declared emergencies and to reinstate the Constitution.
That would be a good start, because it would thrust a fatal dart into the heart of Leviathan. Once God is reinstated to His rightful position, the ripple effect could begin, which would be felt by every American citizen and resident.
This is the final part of a series titled "Repentance in America." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones