Revolutionaries and Biblical Truth
2 Samuel 15 and 2 Samuel 20
Samuel Lesson #220
July 7, 2020
“Father, we come before you this evening knowing that you are the God Who is in control. You’re the God Who is overseeing history. You are working out Your plan according to Your purposes.
“Yet Father, we don’t know where we are on the timeline or what will take place, and we come to You and ask You to give wisdom to our leaders. Paul exhorts us in 1 Timothy 2 that we are to pray for all of our leaders so that we may live peaceable lives, lives without conflict so that we can carry out the mission our Lord Jesus Christ gave us.
“Father, these are unstable times due to the virus and also politically. We have enemies in this country who hate the Constitution, who hate America, who have bought into many of Satan’s lies. Father, we pray that You would expose them, that You would raise up more pastors who would be willing to teach the truth and expose those who have already bought into the lie. There are too many pastors who have already apostatized the truth and are leading large numbers of people into terrible, terrible slavery to these ideas.
“Father, we pray for us that You would give us wisdom that no matter what may take place, we can trust in You, and that we can make wise decisions with regard to our lives and our futures. Father, we pray that You give us insight tonight so that we can see the world around us, so we can understand the times, and we pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
We’re going to begin tonight with a little bit of review. Some things that we’ve covered in our study on Thursday night, but we haven’t been covering them in the Samuel series, and so it’s important to review this. What we’re going to start with, as I covered last week looking at the Sheba rebellion, is to talk about what does the Bible say about revolution, revolutionaries, and biblical truth.
We live in a time when there are numerous people and organizations who are set on developing a revolution in this country and overthrowing the Constitution, overthrowing all that we have known and hold dear for the last 245 years, something like that. We are faced with some tragic social and political upheavals if we do not stand firm. We need to understand what the Scripture says.
As we look at things that sound good and have slogans that we think are true and accurate and that we can validate, maybe they don’t mean what they say they mean. We need to look beneath the covers, as it were, and come to understand what is really going on in this country. We’re going to look at what the Bible says about revolution, revolutionaries, and biblical truth.
To do this, we need to establish a framework for critique. This is foundational. I think this way. I look at Scripture and I think through these things. This is what we’ve looked at on Thursday night that the foundation of all thought basically focuses on three broad categories. The first is ultimate reality and what philosophy calls metaphysics. It’s talking about God. What is out there; what is beyond what we see? Is there a personal, infinite God, which is the view of the Bible, or is there nothing there—we have nothing but eternal matter? That is the view of what is called naturalism.
I remember learning this model when I was in seminary. If you’re looking at the claims of anybody, whoever it is, the first thing you do is you say, “What is their view of God?” If you’re evaluating a cult, if you’re evaluating some Christian sect, if you’re evaluating another religion, what is their view of God? You look at Islam—what is their view of God? You look at Buddhism—what is their view of God? You look at these various movements that we have in this country, you should ask what is their view of God?
Are they coming from a foundation where God is a personal, infinite God Who created all things and rules over all things according to His will, or are they starting from atheism, from naturalism, from evolutionary thought? Then as a result of that, you want to ask the question “What then is man? What is their view of man?”
Biblically, mankind is created in God’s image and likeness, every single human being. This is what was meant in the Declaration of Independence when it said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men, all mankind, every human being is created equal.” That’s what the Bible teaches, that Adam and Eve were created individually and that they were created male and female in the image and likeness of God.
This means that every single human being has value, has significance, has meaning and purpose. It doesn’t matter what their skin color is, it doesn’t matter what their ethnicity is, what country they come from. It doesn’t matter if they’re tall, short, white, black. It doesn’t matter if they’ve got curly hair, no hair, blonde hair, black hair. All human beings are created equal, and therefore they have value, meaning, and purpose.
The problem that we have is sin. Although Adam and Eve were created perfect, there was a test in the Garden of Eden, and when they failed the test and disobeyed God, it was an act of rebellion (we’ll come back to that in a little while), and it introduced corruption into the human race. Therefore, nothing that humans get involved with is ever going to be perfect. No matter what the endeavor, there are always going to be flaws and failures because sinners are involved in the process, and that corrupts whatever it is that they touch.
We can never produce anything of absolute perfection. We can produce some things that are excellent, some things that are better than anything else that has ever happened, that provide more opportunity, but we cannot produce perfection. There are always going to be flaws. There’s always going to be injustice. There’s always going to be inequality of results. There are always going to be wars. There are always going to be famines, there are going to be diseases and pestilence. That is part of living as a fallen creature in a corrupt world.
We then learn that we have the area of knowledge. Where do we get truth?
- We get truth from God through His revelation of Himself through His creation: That’s known as general revelation.
- Through His Scripture.
We have to ask the question “How does so-and-so, how does this organization, how does this person, how does this philosophy, how does this religion view the authority and the sufficiency of the Word of God?” The reason I add sufficiency is a lot of people will say “Well, we believe the Bible is the Word of God.” Today what you have to say, as we studied many times, “We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Word of God that is infallible and inerrant,” just to say what in the 1700s somebody meant by “We believe the Bible is the Word of God.” That is our ultimate authority, and we must judge and evaluate every claim, every person, every belief system on the basis of the Word of God.
The problem that we have today is that we have a number of organizations that are coming to the forefront and are claiming to solve problems of society: social problems, problems related to racism, problems related to economic inequality, problems related to general social suffering. When you look at their views, their views all come out of a worldview called Marxism. Marxism is one form of naturalism. On the one hand you have a theistic, Christian worldview that everything starts with God: God is the Creator of all things. You have on the other hand, the view that everything starts from matter: There’s no God, there’s no personal, infinite deity, that everything is just a product of time plus chance. Those are basically the only two alternatives.
If you want to read on this, I suggest you get James Sire’s book, The Universe Next Door. The sixth edition is out now and is available electronically on Kindle, electronically in Logos Bible software.
The problem that we have is that we evaluate who man is. What’s the problem? In Christianity, the basic problem is sin. In Marxism, the basic problem is economics. He rejects the idea of sin because, of course, if you start with matter, then you have no basis for even talking about good or evil. Everything that is is. You don’t have a sense of anything that tells you what is absolutely good or absolutely bad, and so you can’t really make evaluative judgments other than based on opinion or based on majority opinion.
In Marxism, Marx’s view was that the problem was economic inequality (I’m not going to get into details on this; I’m not giving a lecture on Marxism), but the solution in Marxism is what he called the dialectic. He borrowed that from Hegel, rejected some of Hegel’s other ideas. The idea is that you’re constantly moving through a process of thesis. It’s one way and then it deals with the opposite and then it produces a synthesis and you go forward. Then the new synthesis becomes a new thesis. It creates an opposite force, the antithesis, and then the resolution is a new synthesis. It constantly moves forward.
Marx borrowed from Christianity the idea that everything is moving towards an ultimate goal of utopia. Yes, he got the idea of utopia, and in some forms of Marxism, you’ll find really an apostate borrowing of the kingdom idea in Scripture. That’s what the future kingdom is in Christianity: it is the Messianic rule. But in Marxism, you have this process that goes forward, but what causes change is natural forces. They are sociological forces that create this thesis/antithesis and then synthesis. The problem isn’t sin. The problem is economic inequality. If we can just make everybody economically equal, then we can move towards this ultimate perfection.
The problem with that is that in Christianity, the problem is sin. We can’t reach perfection and a perfect government or perfect economy unless we have a perfect ruler. The perfect ruler is the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will return and establish His kingdom in the future. What’s going to happen when we have a perfect ruler? Remember when we get into the Millennial Kingdom, it’s going to be repopulated by the offspring of those who survived the Tribulation, those who are believers who go into the Millennial Kingdom. But when they have children, those children will have sin natures and those children will rebel. What the Millennial Kingdom teaches us is the problem isn’t economics, the problem isn’t environment, the problem isn’t parenting, the problem isn’t some sort of education, social, or geographical problem. The problem is sin. The problem is human volition choosing to do the wrong thing, and so Marxism will fall apart as a wrong problem/wrong solution.
The solution for the believer is Christ’s substitutionary death on the Cross. He pays the penalty for sin, so that believers who are born again are made a new creature in Christ and can move forward in the process of renewing themselves through the study and application of the Word of God. They will through the application of the Word control their sin nature, control their sinful instincts and sinful desires, and they will begin to live a better way and a better life. For them, there is a way to rise above whatever problems they may face in life.
On Sunday morning we have been studying in Ephesians, and I pointed this out last time that one of the problems that we’ve always had in the human race is a problem that relates to ethnic diversity and racism. In the Scripture during especially the intertestamental period, the Pharisees and other religious sects in Judaism thought of themselves as being superior to all Gentiles because they had these blessings from God. That was based on their arrogance, and so what Paul reminds the Ephesian Gentiles of is that now in Christ, we have all been made one and that dividing wall of the Law is no longer there. All are equal before God. This is the foundation for the understanding and the foundation of this country that all are created equal. In actuality, it is in the body of Christ that we have this equality.
I pointed out that for the Christian, racism is whenever we allow a preference for someone based on ethnicity, based on culture or subculture, to override the unity that we have in the body of Christ. That’s racism. Whenever we allow culture, subculture, whenever we allow ethnicity, to override the unity, the oneness that we have in Christ, then that is racism.
As a matter fact, as I’ve been developing some of these thoughts, I bounce them off of several different people. One of the men I talked to yesterday is a professor up at Calvary University named Gary Gromacki. Gary has spent most of his life drilling down in Ephesians. I was talking to him about possibly being a speaker at the Chafer Conference next year. In talking to him, I said “Let me run this definition of racism by you.” His response was that he said “I like that. I think that I’m going to steal that.”
That’s for the Christian. That’s what racism is. There is such a division today that is occurring because of the outside of the church divisiveness, that it’s coming into the church and creating divisions between believers over these issues that are not relevant to the body of Christ. We have to put the body of Christ and the Word of God first. The solution always goes back to the authority of God and the authority of Scripture.
Another thing that we look at is who is Jesus Christ? In the view of this worldview, whoever it is—in the view of Marxism, in the view of naturalism, in the view of a biblical worldview, in the view of another religion such as Islam, Buddhism, whatever—how do they view Jesus Christ? The biblical view is He is the God-Man that came to earth to die on the Cross for our sins. This is something that is completely rejected by Marxists.
Now we’ve already talked about ethics in terms of sin. We know what right and wrong is because of the character of God. God is a holy God; He’s a righteous God. That relates to a standard: righteousness establishes a standard.
One of the problems that we have in all of these isms that are out there is a flawed view of sin. Either they have no view of sin whatsoever, or sin is not the problem, or you have some watered-down concept of sin, so that man can work his way to Heaven.
The issue is that if we’re going to talk about justice—and, of course, a big phrase that’s popular to talk about today is social justice—where do you get your concept of right and wrong? Where do you get your concept of justice? The reality is, as Ravi Zacharias pointed out, is the problem with social justice. The problem with all of these other movements that are going on today is that they have no basis for their ethics. None whatsoever. It just depends on the will of the group, whatever their majority belief is. That’s where they get their view of right or wrong. It may be one way this week, and it may be another way next year, so there’s no absolute concept of right or wrong.
This is the contrast. This is how we go about evaluating and thinking through questions about organizations like Antifa, organizations like Black Lives Matter. There are literally dozens and dozens of these networked organizations that are out there. Those are just the two most prominent right now, but they’re certainly not the only ones that are out there.
The other way in which we need to look at things, that I’m just beginning to develop on Thursday night, are the Divine Institutions. These are social laws that God embedded into reality. They are social absolutes. They are true for every culture, every nation, every people, every single human being. The first is individual responsibility. We’re responsible for the decisions that we make. If we make bad decisions, we’re going to suffer consequences. If we make good decisions and we live responsibly, then we’re going to see positive benefits. But when we do wrong, we are going to suffer for doing wrong. Everybody is accountable for their individual decisions.
This is what is necessary to make marriage work—the second Divine Institution. People have to take personal responsibility for the decisions they make, and they need to own up to failures and flaws because no marriage is perfect and every marriage is made up of two people with sin natures.
As I’ve always said, when two people get together, they need to make sure that their sin natures are compatible because we don’t always walk by the Spirit, we don’t always obey the Lord. When we are both out of fellowship, and we get angry and we get mad and whatever else we do, we’ve got to be able to understand the other person and why they do what they do.
If you take a person who is basically a legalist, very ascetic, and a person who basically has trends towards antinomianism or lawlessness or permissiveness, and you put them together in a marriage, then when they are out of fellowship, it is going to be really bad because they are so opposite and that’s going to cause a lot of problems. They have to understand each other.
Marriage is the basic unit within a nation because it provides for the future through family. Families, where children are produced and the parents are the source of education for the family and for the children, are the foundation of the idea of a nuclear family.
When you see those in different organizations critiquing the nuclear family which they will mislabel as the family of Western civilization, it is not the family of Western civilization; it is the family of the Bible. It is a direct attack on the Bible. The family is the core, not the village, not the extended family. It is mom and dad and the kids. That is the core unit in the nation.
Then we have “God-established government”, so all government is good even when the people who are in those offices are evil, sinful, wicked. Remember “the heart is deceitful and wicked above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). We never elect a perfect ruler. We’re always going to elect a flawed human being who is going to be in the office, but what we need to do is choose the best of the options and that are closest to the biblical framework.
Then we have the identity of nations. This means borders. This means preventing people from just coming into a nation any time they want to. There are various laws, treaties, things of that nature.
Then the sixth Divine Institution is Israel. What makes it a Divine Institution is it’s for all people, whether they’re believer or unbeliever. Anybody following these laws of divine establishment are going to have a measure of stability and happiness and productivity. In the Abrahamic Covenant, God said “Those who bless Israel I will bless” (Genesis 12:3). He didn’t say those believers who bless Israel or those unbelievers who bless Israel. It applied to everybody. This is like the other Divine Institutions.
As I pointed out, the first three were given before there was sin, so this is designed to promote productivity and advance civilization. When these are not recognized and honored in a culture, that culture will fall apart. The second three are designed to restrain evil. If you don’t believe in absolute evil—which a naturalist does not because they only believe in something that opposes them—in naturalism, you have no ultimate basis for your ethic for right or wrong.
One of the things that I want to talk about here is this issue of Israel. A couple of things I want to bring to your attention. The first is an article that came out July 13, 2016 in the Gatestone Institute by Alan Dershowitz, and he says, “Who do bigots blame for police shootings in America? Israel, of course!” He starts off his article by saying, “In response to the tragic deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana, the New York University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine posted the following on its Facebook page: ‘In the past 48 hours, another two black men have been lynched by the police. We must remember that many U.S. police departments train with #IsraeliDefenceForces. The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians. What this means is that Palestinians must stand with our black comrades. We must struggle for their liberation. It is as important as our own. #AltonSterling is as important as #AliDawabsheh. Palestinian liberation and black liberation go together. We must recognize this and commit to building for it.’ ”
This is part of what is going on. Then I have a couple of videos that I want to play for you. This is a video that comes from Black Lives protesters. I’m just going to show you the article. The video I don’t think is that easy to hear or understand. The picture is of Black Lives Matter protesters marching through Washington D.C. on Wednesday. This is sponsored by the organization Black Lives Matter. The article states, “Black Lives Matter protesters marching through Washington D.C. on Wednesday were captured on video chanting ‘Israel, we know you. You murder children too.’ ”
There are a number of things that come along that show that Black Lives Matter has aligned themselves with the Palestinians. In 2016 I saw it on their webpage, and it’s on their “What We Believe”. You can hear them yelling “You murder children, too.” That shows an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel focus from the Black Lives Matter organization. Genesis 12:3 says. “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.”
These are just some insights. We’ll go into that evaluation there a little more as we go forward with this study. It will probably take me more than one week to do this. We have to remember when we get into some of these issues, these are complex. For some people, they can be become very emotional.
I think just about every American was incredibly distressed when they saw the video of what happened to George Floyd. There have been others where we have seen the video of those who have been, apparently from the videos, attacked. I’m not saying that’s not true. The reason I say that is I learned a very long time ago as a pastor that you wait a long time—whether I’m counseling in marriage, whether I am dealing with some social news issue—you have to wait until all the facts come out or a lot more. It may take several months before you get all the information.
A lot of times with videos, what appears to be true on a video turns out not to be quite as true as the video or sound recording suggested. I’m not saying that in the case of George Floyd or in some of these others that that’s true. My policy is I always wait until all the information comes out. We can’t make emotional decisions. Emotion is the enemy of truth.
Putting this up here, blazing this on the inside of your eyes, needlepoint it into your pillowcases, put it on the walls of your house or on your refrigerator—truth does not care about your emotions! Think about that. Truth is truth. You may not like it, it may not make you feel good, but truth doesn’t care about how you feel. The teaching of Scripture does not care about how we feel.
Think about how many times in Scripture, Jesus sat down with somebody and said, “Well, how do you feel about this?” Think about the woman at the well. Is that what Jesus said when He sat down to talk to her, and she starts to talk about the problems between the Jews and the Samaritans? Did Jesus say, “How do you feel about that?” Truth doesn’t care about how you feel. Truth is true. We have to align ourselves with truth. I used to get somewhat concerned when I would hear people say, “We need to make the Bible relevant to us.” No, we need to become relevant to the Bible. We need to adjust to God; God does not adjust to us.
Truth cares about what is biblically correct and what glorifies God. Truth is not about what makes us feel good. That’s hard for a lot of Christians because they think “I need to go to church, and I need to feel good when I go to church.” A lot of times the truth of Scripture does not make us feel good. It may generate a lot of feelings, some reaction because we are dead set doing it our way. God says “No, that’s not right. You need to do it My way.”
When we read 2 Timothy 3:16–17 that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” “For reproof”—that means saying you’re wrong. None of us likes to be told you’re wrong. “For reproof, for correction”—so we can point in the right direction. “And training in righteousness”.
We need to set a biblical framework for understanding rebellion. I want to look at what we’ve seen in Samuel, which is a tale of two rebellions. We’ve got a framework for looking at it, and now we’re going to look at these two rebellions we covered in Samuel. We are going to look at Absalom’s rebellion, and then we’re going to look at Sheba’s rebellion.
I have about 10 points of summary. I’m not going to enumerate them as points; I’m just going to take you through them. First of all, if you look at 2 Samuel 15—you could start back as far as 2 Samuel 13 —we learned that Absalom’s rebellion is designed to replace the government of David with his own government. He’s going to remove David, his father, from the kingship and replace him with himself, even if that involves the murder or the death of his own father.
While Absalom was away and isolated (he spent five years away from Jerusalem), during that time he nurtured his sin nature—anger, resentment, hostility—and these sins grew within him like a cancer. This is often what happens with people. We think we have become the victim of something, and that’s the idea in Absalom, that he’s a victim of something.
Victimology is at the core of much of this social unrest. People have been taught that you’re a victim. Biblically, let me tell you, they’re right. Every single one of us is a victim—of Adam’s original sin. Every one of us. Because Adam made that choice, we have to live in a really screwed up world. We have to live with people who are obnoxious, people who get in our way, people who don’t like us. We have to deal with people who believe different things and people who are jealous of us. People who are angry with us. We are all victims, but we can’t use that as an excuse. When we use that as an excuse, we are denying the validity of Divine Institution #1, which is human responsibility. We have to take responsibility for our own lives and our own decisions whether they’re good decisions and they lead to positive results, or whether they’re bad decisions and they lead to negative consequences.
We can’t blame others for our problems. We can’t blame our parents. We can’t blame our siblings. We can’t blame anyone in our family. We can’t blame the government for our problems. Whatever problems we have, we have to face as Christians with the Word of God. We can’t allow our sin nature to begin to dominate our thinking with resentment, anger, and all of these other emotions.
This is what happens in various segments of our culture. You have people who are born into very difficult circumstances. Maybe their parents are divorced, maybe it’s a single-parent home. Maybe they’re born into a home where parents are abusive. Maybe they’re born into a home of poverty. Then they look at somebody else and that everything looks good. These people are born with financial resources. They had two parents. They have all the things that the other person wishes they had. But often I find that the person that has everything is just as miserable as the person that doesn’t have anything. The reason is that happiness is not a matter of possessions. Happiness is a matter of your own soul. Happiness is a matter of understanding the laws of divine establishment, and for the Christian, happiness is understanding your relationship with God and learning the Word of God, and being satisfied with what God has given you, and being happy in that which never changes, which is God.
As I have matured over the last several decades and I have spent not a lot of time, but a significant amount of time counseling with people, talking to people, getting to know lots of people, I have seen a lot of people that I thought had everything together. They had it made—they had success, they had a great career, they had financial resources, they drove really nice cars, they seemed to go on really great vacations. But then you get to know them, and what you discover after a while is they’ve got some really horrible things in their lives.
I don’t know anybody who hasn’t gone through some really tough times. It may have to do with their health. It may have to do with their children. It may have had to do with their parents. It may have had to do with the way they were brought up. People don’t wear these horrible things on their shirtsleeves, and they don’t talk about it.
A lot of times we just never know what people have dealt with in their life, and I have found that every one of us at some point in our lives has some real bad garbage to deal with. We are all victims because we live in Satan’s world and because we live in a corrupt world, and we have to learn to handle that on the basis of the Word of God.
Absalom is self-centered, and he’s blaming David for everything. This gave him time to plan and work out his plan. During the three years he was in exile in Geshur, which is found in 2 Samuel 13:38, he would have nursed this. He wants to be the king.
What had happened is that his older brother, half-brother, Amnon, who was David’s first born, was the one who should have succeeded to the throne. But he [Absalom] killed Amnon, and because of that, Absalom would’ve been prevented from inheriting the throne. He killed his brother Amnon because Amnon had committed incest with Absalom’s full sister Tamar. He took the law into his own hands and committed murder. He has failed in that regard and has disqualified himself from being king, but in his arrogance, he wants to make it happen, to force it to happen.
The problem is that it’s not just Absalom that is arrogant. Every one of us is arrogant. Arrogance is at the very core of our sin nature because the orientation of our sin nature is always about me. It’s always about what I want, what’s going to make me feel good, what’s going to make my life better. Some people just nurture and feed their arrogance. We talk about the fact that they get the big head.
Absalom certainly did. The Scripture says that he was handsome and that people continually praised him for that. Being handsome, being good-looking, being someone who has a winsome personality has nothing to do with anything you’ve ever done. You’re born that way. It’s a matter of how genetics came together in your physical body and in the makeup of your personality, which has nothing to do with anything that you’ve accomplished. He gets the big head over something that has nothing to do with his own volition, has nothing to do with his own life. He is nurturing that, and because everybody praises him, he thinks that he can win the people over and go against David. He has been blessed. He has a wife, he has three sons and a daughter.
When he finally is allowed to come back from Geshur, he is in Jerusalem, and he doesn’t see the king for two years. He just continues to nurse all of this resentment toward David and his victimology. He just continued to think that he was the one who should be the one on the throne. God has chosen Solomon to be the heir of David, and Solomon is still just a boy. We find that in order to get David’s attention, he causes a fire in one of Joab’s fields, and this gets Joab’s attention. He doesn’t have an ethical standing. We don’t see anything.
When we look at our criteria, Absalom has no relationship with God. We don’t know what he thought about any god, but he has a total ethic that is based on what’s best for him. He destroys somebody else’s property in order to get their attention. He has the idea that the end justifies the means. He has no sense of right or wrong. He is involved in self-promotion.
When we look at 2 Samuel 15, we see that he provided himself with chariots and horses and 50 men that would run before them, so he is promoting himself all the time. Everywhere he went, he had this entourage and this pomp and circumstance in order to promote himself before all of the people.
As he did that, he told lies about the government. He told lies about David. He said that David really doesn’t care, he’s too busy, he committed this sin, God really doesn’t want him to be a king anymore. He set up his own office, as it were, outside of the gate to Jerusalem, and as people came to Jerusalem to get their problems solved by David or by the court, Absalom would be the one to take care of them. He built up a following.
During that time, he began his conspiracy. Later on, we’re going to find out that when he goes to Hebron under the guise of fulfilling a vow and making a sacrifice, when he gets there, he gives the word and his spies go throughout the land. That implies that he has already set up this network of spies. He’s been involved in these conspiracies. He’s been setting up cell groups in every town, in every village throughout Israel, so that when the time comes, he’s prepared.
I think that’s what has happened in a number of these situations that have happened in the U.S. recently. There have been events that were not right, that were wrong and that were being handled by the judicial authorities, but then there were these hostile organizations that came in and exacerbated the whole thing. They just lit a fire of chaos and discord, bringing on riots, bringing on all these demonstrations that got out of hand.
You find a lot of Christians say “Well, it was injustice. We’re fighting injustice, so it’s okay.” I don’t know about other people, but my mother always told me that two wrongs don’t make a right. That’s biblical. You don’t fix something by committing another sin, by committing another crime. You fix something through the legally established courts and going to your representatives, changing the law. You don’t correct things by going out and doing damage.
A lot of the people who were seriously upset about George Floyd, about these others who wanted to express their grief and their support for the family, and they were peaceable marchers. That’s fine, that’s great, that is constitutional, and they have the right to assemble. But that was taken advantage of by a number of these other organizations. As a result of that, they sewed tremendous discord because there are a tremendous number of enemies in this nation.
As I was reading today, going through a lot of different names of different organizations, going to webpages and reading all about them, what I discovered was that many of these organizations are funded and financed by the Chinese Communists. That dovetailed with some headline I read yesterday that the FBI said that over 50% of their counterintelligence operations are against Chinese subversives in the United States.
We’ve got a serious problem in this country with national enemies that have infiltrated many of our institutions. This has happened not only with the Chinese Communists, but it has happened with the Moslems. The money that the Saudi Arabians and other Arabs have from the petrodollars, they had used that to endow departments and chairs and other positions in American universities. Then they get to handpick who’s going to be in that chair, and these are people who are teaching things that are hostile to America.
We’ve been infiltrated by many enemies who are teaching our students in our universities to hate this country. They distort the teaching of American history. They distort the information about the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. As a result, we have a generation coming up that doesn’t value our history. This is why they can go out and they want to destroy monuments, and they want to destroy all of these other historical artifacts. It doesn’t matter to them because they’re not really tearing down just statues of those who were in the Confederacy, those who were slaveholders. In fact, I read today an article about them tearing down statues of abolitionists and those who were fighting slavery, so Frederick Douglass had his statue taken down and virtually destroyed.
This is a real problem. You know they failed to see the truth. I think a lot of people miss this because of the way it was reported. Two or three weeks ago, it made headlines that in a show of virtue signaling, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, went out and she made a big show of taking down the portraits in the Capitol Building of three former Speakers of the House back in the 19th century, who were slave owners. Want to know the rest of story? They were Democrats.
She didn’t take them down because they were slaveholders. She took them down because they demonstrate the truth of the statement that the Democrat Party was the party of slaveholders. It was the dominant party in the southern states and the Democrat Party is the party that promoted Jim Crow, the Democrat Party is the party of slavery. They did not want civil rights. In the 1960s when they passed the Civil Rights Act, more Republicans voted for it than Democrats. If it weren’t for the Republican votes, the Civil Rights Act never would have passed in the Congress. It is the Republican Party that is the party of abolishing slavery.
I heard one story today that Carol Swain was talking about. She is also an advocate for truth and for Scripture. In fact, she was talking about how she was reared in poverty, and that when she was 16 years old, she dropped out of school. She got married, she began to have babies, and she was divorced not long after that. Then she began to go back to community college. Eventually she was able to get a couple of Masters degrees and earned her PhD. She had a career as a tenured professor at Princeton, and then she ended her career as a professor in political science at Vanderbilt. This is somebody who used their volition to overcome all of the things that society was saying she was a victim of. As she said, if she had known that she was such a victim, she would not have accomplished those things. She would have felt like it was impossible from the very beginning.
And yet here is a black woman who is an intellectual, grew up as a Democrat until something happened in her life. Guess what happened in her life? She became a Christian, and once you became a Christian and she began to read the Bible, she began to understand the concept of sin, the concept of responsibility, the concept that we live in a fallen world. Then she gradually began to change her worldview to a biblical worldview, and it fit with all of the basic common-sense things she said that her mother had taught her. As a result of that, by the early part of 2000, 2003–04, somewhere in there, she switched from being a Democrat to being a Republican.
She talked about the fact that at the time that the Civil Rights Act was passed, they had a Democrat governor in Virginia, and Virginia resisted the Civil Rights Act, resisted integration with everything that it had, and then they brought in a Republican governor. The first thing the Republican governor did was to take his two children, and he walked with them to a primarily black school, and he enrolled them in that school.
Then he was the first governor of Virginia to appoint any blacks to his administration. It wasn’t the Democrats that did this; it was Republicans. Some people say, “You know the Republican Party isn’t that way anymore.” No, the Republican Party is exactly that way. It is through the welfare system that the Democratic Party has enslaved blacks and has kept them down due to education and a number of things, and if I have time I’ll talk about that some more next week.
What we see with this typical modus operandi of the rebel is they told lies about the government. This is what’s happening in our education system. Absalom told lies about David, made him out to be inept, made himself out to be the only answer. He is the one who would make everybody happy. What he was doing was appealing to their emotions.
This is what is happening today. There is such an appeal to emotion, and we can understand that because there are some horrible things that have happened to some people, there are horrible things that have happened to certain black people that seem to be incredibly unjust, but we have to let the system work.
There’s a lot of distrust that has been sown for the system, which is exactly what Absalom did. He sowed distrust. The reality is that truth doesn’t care about our feelings. We have to focus on what is true and constantly pursue that question. Like I said, I am one to always wait until I make sure I have all the facts and not just react according to what I see or what I hear because there’s usually a lot more to it.
The rebels appeal to emotion. But Absalom has no ethics, no standards. It’s all about gaining approval and gaining power. In 2 Samuel 15:6–7 we read “In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. Now it came to pass after forty years that Absalom said to the king, ‘Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the Lord.’ ”
What we see in history is religion is often used as a cover for evil acts, and this has happened time and time again throughout history. He makes up the story about a vow, and he’s using religion as a cloak to disguise his treason.
He has built this network of spies and traitors in preparation for the time that he’s going to begin the revolt. He even goes so far as to bring 200 administrators out of Jerusalem, so that they will be with him and that he can then move into Jerusalem. He has all of this government administration already to go when he takes over from the king.
We see further how he acts like a pagan when he took his father’s concubines, when he raped them out in public on top of the palace as a sign that he was the one who now had authority. This is a violation of the Mosaic Law. He doesn’t care about God, doesn’t care about religion, doesn’t care about God’s revelation, he doesn’t care about the divine institution of marriage, divine institution of family, and his perversion of government shows that he has no respect for the divine institution of government, as laid out in the Mosaic Law. He shows that he is completely overturning the previous government.
The rebellion of Sheba is the one we studied last time in 2 Samuel 20. Just basically, three things—we’re not told a lot about Sheba. First of all, he’s called a rebel. He is an ish belial, a man of chaos or disruption. He is a man who is deeply and profoundly arrogant.
Second thing we see that may be more of a problem than Absalom is that he doesn’t want to replace David. He wants to split the country and take 10 tribes off and establish his own kingdom. He wanted to divide the country, which at this point violated God’s plan. After Solomon, there will be a division, and there will be a civil war, but it is a divinely authorized civil war.
Sheba sought to turn the people against David, and he heads all the way to the north, as I showed you last time on the map, to a town called Abel of Beth Maachah to show that he had the support of the people, but it turns out that he didn’t have the support of the people. There is the widow who comes and talks with Joab and gives him a plan. She says we don’t want this disruption. We don’t want to get rid of David. We don’t want to divide the country.
If a rebellion is going to succeed, you have to make sure that you have everybody in place, that you have disrupted across the whole nation. This is exactly what we saw with Absalom. He had his spies everywhere. He had worked for a number of years to embed his personality with the people so that when he said “Let’s get rid of David,” everybody said “Sure, we’ll follow you, Absalom.” Sheba had not taken the time to do that, so he did not have the support of the people, and they captured him and beheaded him and threw his head over the wall.
We see this layout of human rebellion, but rebellion did not start there. Rebellion started with Lucifer. Rebellion is important to understand as a keyword for understanding sin. The key Old Testament word for sin is chata which means to miss the mark, to go out of bounds, to fall short of the standard.
Another word that is frequently used, and was in fact the first word that David used in Psalm 51 when he was confessing his sin. He used all three words for sin, but the first word he used was pesha‘. He said (Psalm 51:1) “Blot out my transgressions.” Pesha‘ means an act of rebellion. Sin at its core is an act of rebellion against the authority of God. In Isaiah 14:12–17, we see Lucifer’s sin explained as these five “I wills”.
Isaiah 14:13–14, “For you have said in your heart:—which is arrogance—‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;—that’s the angels—I will also sit on the mount of the congregation—that means he will rule over the angels—on the farthest sides of the north, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds—that again is a metaphor for the angels,—I will be like the Most High.’ ” He wants to be treated like God, but God is going to judge him. Even the angels have a category of personal responsibility.
When Satan sinned, there are consequences to sin. God said (Isaiah 14:15–17), “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities …’ ”
Who is this guy? Ezekiel 28:12–16 gives us another side of this episode where he is pictured as the seal of perfection, he’s a cherub who covers, he’s full of wisdom. “Perfect in beauty” describes how he looks
He is the most beautiful creature, the most intelligent creature, the most powerful creature of all of the angels. He’s the anointed or chosen, appointed cherub who covers, that is, who covered the throne of God. God says “I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God … you were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:14–15).
Satan is going to lead a rebellion against God. He is the first rebel. He leads this revolt against God, and it stems from arrogance. All revolution has to do with rebellion against authority. It has to do with arrogance and resentment toward God. At its very core, every rebellion is an act against God.
Next time we’re going to come back and see a few more examples of rebellion in the Scripture, and then we’ll look at where this takes us because one of the questions that people often ask me is “Do I think that the American War for Independence was valid, was legitimate?” The idea there is is this a just war? Often we get caught up in what I would consider to be, as I’ve studied this, a wrong question. We would say “Is it a revolution or is it a war for independence?” The question should be phrased “Is it a just war, is it justified?”
As I have taken us through our study on Thursday nights, I talked about this recent book that came out last year called Did America Have a Christian Founding? Separating Modern Myth from Historical Truth by Mark David Hall, who is a professor at George Fox University. He has a lot of positions and a lot of accolades.
He has edited a number of books with another scholar named Daniel Dreisbach, who is also one who believes that the Bible was the most important founding document for the Founding Fathers. A couple of weeks ago, I had gone to Mark David Hall’s website, and I sent him an email and never got an answer. I thought today “I’m just going to call him.” He debated the chief legal advisor for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which is an atheist group. That’s how I found out about him; I saw that on C-SPAN five or six weeks ago. I looked him up, and I ordered his book and went to his website. I went back to his website, and it had a phone number there, so I called him.
Somebody answered the phone and said, “This is Mark.” It kind of surprised me because I expected it’s summer so school is out, and I’m going to get a recording maybe. Maybe I’ll hear from him or maybe I won’t. I was just kind of silent for a minute. I said, “Is that you and not a recording?” He said “No, it’s me. I’m here. What can I do to help you?” I told him who I was, and we had a nice conversation.
I said “In your debate, you mentioned that you were writing a book on whether the American War for Independence was a just war or was it a revolution. He said “That’s right. I’m working on that now.” I said, “I’m studying through this.” I gave a little bit of my background—teaching church history for Chafer Seminary, things of that nature, and I said, “From what you said, I take it you take the position that it was just war.” He said “Yes.” I said “Let me give you my rationale for that. See what you think.” And so I did, and I’ll give it to you next week. He said “You’re exactly right.”
Then I told him two or three other things that I thought. You can’t find most of this stuff in print anywhere. Nobody’s really argued it, but he gave me some good resources, which I spent a lot of time today reading through. We had a good conversation, and we agreed with each other on just about everything that we talked about. He teaches in a school called George Fox University, which is about 30 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon.
We’ll talk about those things next week as well as get into an evaluation of these organizations that are so prevalent, so much on the news these days with regard to protest demonstrations, and we’ll take our biblical framework to what they say on their websites about what their goals and objectives are and what they believe and see if they are something that a Christian can validate. That will be next Tuesday night.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to look at these things today, come to understand the biblical framework you’ve given us so that we can accurately and honestly evaluate what is going on around us and so that we can come to solid conclusions that are based upon Your Word.
“Father, we pray too for the peace in our nation that there can be a resolution of these problems without a complete disruption or civil war or race war. We pray that you would give wisdom to our leaders that they would have the courage and the toughness to do what is necessary to put down any acts of rebellion. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”