Living in Pagan Relativism
1 & 2 Samuel Lesson #003
February 17, 2015
"Our Father, we’re just so very grateful for the freedom that we have to gather together as Christians without fear of persecution, without fear of arrest, without fear of being put into prison. Father, there are many Christians around the world for whom that is not true, and we are mindful of these Coptic Christians who were executed horribly just recently. It is a reminder that in much of the history of Christianity, that has been much more the norm than not; and Father, that may even be something that we face in the future if there is not a willingness of recognition on the part of leaders in the West to realize that a religious war has been declared against us and we need to take that very seriously.
We pray for leaders in Congress and those who influence the President, that they would make this clear. We pray that there would be an awakening; and if not, we pray that we might be steadfast and that we might be consistent in our walk with You; for ultimately we’re not promised a spiritual life of comfort, a spiritual life of ease. But just as our Lord was persecuted and was eventually executed, He warns that we too may follow in those very footsteps. Challenge us as we study Your Word today. Help us to think through the issues that we are going to be exposing in these early books of the Old Testament to understand Your Word. Not only to understand Your Word more fully, but to apply it to our thinking about things that are going on in our world today. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen."
We are beginning our study in 1 Samuel (slide1), and I am very excited about this. I’ve been going back and looking at some notes that I had when I taught 1 Samuel some 25-30 years ago. I’m amazed at how relevant some of the things I had in my notes are for today because we could see the handwriting on the wall, if you were perceptive, 25-30 years ago. It’s just that we’re 24-30 years further down the slide than we were that long ago. It’s also interesting to see how the patterns in the Old Testament set the patterns for today. It is not prescriptive, but it helps us to understand what is going on; and to understand what is going on in Samuel, we have to understand the framework of that time in history and the framework of Scripture, the context of Scripture. When we look at 1 Samuel it is an extension of Judges.
If you look at your Bible and look at 1 Samuel 1, and you turn back a page or two in your English Bible, you have this little bitty book called Ruth. In the organization of the Scripture in the OT Hebrew canon you had three basic divisions: Torah or Law or Instruction. The root meaning of the word Torah is not law, it is instruction. Law instructs us how to live. What is right and what is wrong. The Law becomes an obvious nuance to that word Torah. It has a range of meaning. The first five books are Torah, Law, and they were written by one person, Moses. They are integrated. They work together. They’re an integral whole. While they have history in them, they are really not history as we get once we get into Joshua and Judges. That’s when we get into real history in the Bible.
Judges ends in just a horrible situation. The last judge is Samuel. We’re going to go through this several times because I think it’s important to understand what’s happening at the end of Judges. Samson begins to deliver them from the oppression of the Philistines, but he doesn’t complete it. He fails because he’s a failure spiritually. He’s a failure in his spiritual life. He fails to obey God. He is supposed to be a Nazarite from birth. A Nazarite was someone who took a Nazarite vow, a specific kind of vow which meant that they weren’t going to cut their hair, no razor would touch the hair of their head. They’d grow a long beard, long hair, and they would not touch any alcohol; and they were not to touch a dead body. Samson violated all of those numerous times. They weren’t even to touch grape or grape skins. It wasn’t that they weren’t supposed to drink wine; they weren’t supposed to touch grapes at all. Yet he goes into a vineyard one time and when he slays the Philistines with a jawbone of an ass the jaw bone is coming from a live animal? Oh no, no; it’s a dead animal! So he’s touched a dead animal. He’s immoral in all these things; and he is abusive to the women in his life, incredibly, which is indicative of paganism.
We get into this because there’s some really significant things that are indicated about women in a pagan culture, and it’s not good. Sometimes you’ll hear from people today that we’re just more aware of physical abuse and sexual abuse of women. We may be more aware, but there’s more of it. There’s always been a certain amount of physical and sexual abuse of women, but in a Christian environment it was minimal. There are always unbelievers, so there are always people who are living on the basis of their sin nature. But it is minimal. You had that even in the Scripture. But what you see in the book of Judges is that women are treated with honor and respect at the beginning of the period of the Judges when the Israelites are functioning according to the Law; but as they got further and further away from the Law and were living more and more like Canaanites, the way women are treated as you go through Judges deteriorates, and the role of men and women, males and females within a pagan culture, tends to move toward a reversal.
I believe it is out of frustration, that reversal, because men don’t know what it means to be men and women don’t know what it means to be feminine. There’s a tremendous amount of sexual frustration; and I don’t mean that in the sense of the sex act. I mean in the sense of gender frustration. They don’t know who they are. The culture has lied to them about their make-up and their nature as men and as women, and that leads to these various role reversals. Out of that you have an embedded frustration that takes place in the soul because men can’t be men or won’t be men or don’t know how to be men, so they are frustrated. And women don’t know what it means to be a woman, or the men aren’t being men. They don’t know how to be a woman, so they’re frustrated, and it dominoes through the culture in terms of how it destroys the marriage and destroys the family. That’s the result of paganism. It’s not a result of Christianity.
Christianity defines the roles. God made them male and female in Genesis 1 before there was sin. It’s not just a matter of physical bodily distinctions between male and female, but God made the women differently from men in terms of their souls. When that is violated then it dominoes through culture. It destroys marriages, and it destroys families, and it destroys the nation. We are living that way today. We have two generations of young people now from probably the mid-40s on down who think that gender roles are interchangeable. Men can do what women can do and women can do what men can do, and we shouldn’t have these kinds of distinctions; and it is embedded. If you go to work in any company and you really hold and try to apply in your work biblical views of men and women, you’ll be fired. You will be fired if you really understood the Word of God and you stood for those things. You would be fired because so many Christians have just bought into the world’s ideas, and that’s what we see in these particular books.
By the time you get to the end of Judges, we have not only Samson who is a womanizer and abusive toward women, he’s abusive toward his mother. He shows a tremendous amount of disrespect towards his mother. Then we get into this really bizarre situation with Micah the Levite and the alternate worship and idolatry that gets set up in Judges 18. In Judges 19 there’s the horrible story about the Levite and his concubine. Notice, if you look at Judges 19:1, where is the Levite from? He’s from the territory of Ephraim. Where is Samuel from? He’s from the territory of Ephraim. He’s also a Levite. We’ll get into that more as we get into the details of 1 Samue1 and the family background there at the beginning, where it talks about Elkanah is an Ephraimite. That’s not talking about his tribe as we’ll see when we get into it in detail. That’s talking about his territory. Joshua tells us that a large group of Levites settled in the territory of Ephraim. Elkanah is also listed in a Levitical chronology in 1 Chronicles, so this connects together; and it’s designed that way.
We really have to get into the Judges a little bit. When you come to Judges, it ends not only with this apostasy of Micah and the sexual abuse and physical abuse and total anti-woman mentality that’s evidenced in that whole thing with the Levite’s concubine, but then you get into this horrible civil war with the Benjamites. What do you see at the beginning of Samuel? You see the same kind of thing. You see idolatry. You see the abuse of the temple. You see this role reversal problem that is related to the role of genders at the beginning of Samuel, the role of women in Samuel and how Hannah is abused by the second wife; and then you also have problems with the Benjamites.
We miss out on that because we have this little bitty book of Ruth that’s sandwiched between Judges and 1 Samuel. In the Hebrew arrangement after the Torah you have the Prophets. And the Prophets were divided into the former prophets and the latter prophets. The former prophets were Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. Notice, I left out Ruth. Ruth was part of the Writings. So Ruth was in a separate part of the Hebrew canon. If you sat down to read the Hebrew Bible you would go straight from the end of Judges into the beginning of Samuel, and these connections would be really obvious. But when we read through it in our English Bible with Ruth sandwiched in between, those connections are often lost.
What we see here in these former prophets is prophetic history, which is the foundation of real history as we’ll see. There is a contrast between God’s view of history and man’s view of history. That’s why so many people today who are brought up in classrooms where they’re taught history from a human viewpoint perspective don’t appreciate history. It’s boring. It’s just a lot of meaningless data that’s thrown at you, unless there’s a teacher who can somehow tell good stories; then you are entertained by it. I had a history teacher who taught English history my senior year in high school, and he was a great storyteller, but he was like most pagans. He has no idea of why history is there.
I want to start off and point out over the next couple of weeks as we get into the background in the era of the Judges, we’re going to be learning about “Living in Pagan Relativism” (slide 2). The key verse in Judges is, “There was no king in Israel. Everyone did what’s right in his own eyes.” So they were living in pure moral relativism at the time. They had rejected God. When you reject God, you reject absolutes. We learn from the history. In the English Bible these are called the historical books because there’s a lot of history there. But we realize that in Israel history is a way of teaching truth. We often think of the Epistles as teaching truth, and that’s more of what I call didactical, or instructional, literature where that’s the primary mode. But in history in the OT, that’s how they taught truth: through history, through the events of history.
In contrast, we have a lot of various statements that we find from human viewpoint philosophers such as Hegel (slide 3) who said that “we learn one thing from history: that we learn nothing from history.” Hegel was a late enlightenment or early modern philosopher who lived in the late 1700s into the early 1800s and was totally divorced from any view of biblical absolutes. That’s why he can make this observation that we don’t ever learn anything form history; because you can’t learn from history if you don’t have a biblical view of history. A biblical view of history is designed to teach something, and if it is designed to teach something, then you can learn from history.
Aldous Huxley (slide 4) is the grandson of Thomas Huxley, who was called Darwin’s bulldog. Aldous Huxley and his brother Julian were strong advocates of humanism and evolution in the early to mid-20th century. Aldous Huxley wrote in his book A Brave New World, “You all remember,” said the Controller, in his strong deep voice, “you all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of our Ford’s (that’s an illusion to Henry Ford who said “All history is just one damn thing after another.” It has no meaning.) He said, “that beautiful and inspired saying of our Ford’s: ‘History is bunk. History,”” he repeated slowly, “is bunk.’” That was another thing that Henry Ford said about history.
Paganism rejects the fact that history has meaning and purpose. “It’s just one damn thing after another.” It’s just a lot of events, and history isn’t moving anywhere because if you don’t have a God who stands outside of history and who controls history, then it is just random chance because it’s based on evolution. Everything is controlled by time and chance. There’s nothing significant or meaningful to it. George Santayana (slide 5) who is another early 20th century philosopher, said that “Those who forget history are bound to repeat it.” These quotes basically show some of the human viewpoint perspectives, but it is true. We have to learn history as an absolute. Santayana didn’t believe in history as an absolute, but the Bible presents history as an absolute; that from a divine viewpoint it teaches absolute principles.
So as we get into our study of 1 Samuel we have to go back and fit it into its historical context in the book of Judges and that gives us a background for understanding the history of the OT. Sadly so many people in our culture are weak in history. They don’t have a perspective of history, and it’s been exacerbated over the last 50 years because the textbooks that are used to teach history, because history doesn’t have meaning under modernism and postmodernism, these writers can just impose their view on history and use it as a propaganda tool. It’s not always what is said in the history textbooks. It’s what’s not said. It’s their misrepresentation of facts in order to promote their agenda of socialism or Marxism or humanism because of their false view of the separation of church and state, which means that the Bible or religion has nothing whatever to say about what is going on in day to day life. They exclude people’s religious beliefs from being a causative factor in the events of history.
People are taught a false view of what happened and why it happened because they don’t understand the religious motivations of the people who were active in history. On the positive side, that effects the founders and the colonists in the early American colonies as well as the founders of the American Republic because they were deeply and profoundly shaped by their understanding of the Bible and their understanding of what the Bible taught about freedom, about individual responsibility, and about government and the limitations of government. If you exclude that from the conversation, you are really talking about meaningless things. You can’t organize your thoughts around the real issue.
On the negative side, you have a secular environment today that goes so far as to deny religious motivation, and you have this person in the White House and his administration who when they respond to these 21 Coptic Christians who were executed in Libya by ISIS over the weekend, they exclude the fact that they are Christians. They just refer to them as executed because they were Egyptian citizens. They weren’t executed because they were Egyptian citizens. They were executed because they were Christians. But see, they can’t bring themselves to identify that Islam, whether it’s a true version of Islam or a distorted version of Islam, that nevertheless, ISIS is motivated by their understanding of the Koran and their understanding of Islam. It is motivated by their religious belief, but they can’t admit that either.
So they (the presidential administration) can’t admit that because they can’t admit that the causative factor here is religious. They can’t admit and identify the victims as being victims because they were Christians. As a result of that, they have a totally distorted view of what is going on. And how can a president and an administration that has their head buried in the ground so deeply to deny looking at reality make correct decisions? Their decisions will always be incorrect because they can’t identify the problem, not even to themselves. They’re in such denial. This is the kind of thing that we see in Judges and in Samuel that’s the result of paganism. It is a result of rejecting the truth of the Scripture. If you don’t understand history from divine viewpoint, then you can’t properly understand what has been going on.
We live in an era that has rejected the meaning in history. The significance of history is the outworking of God’s plan and purpose. Their view of history is based on what is defined by some as secular humanism; it came into play in the 19th century during the waning years of what was known as modernism, which was the “child or the enlightenment,” teaching that everything that we can learn about mankind and about the world and about society can be learned through pure empiricism in combination with rationalism at the exclusion of revelation. And because they exclude revelation, they can observe some things that are true; but their framework is always going to be false.
The best illustration that I can use for this is what took place in the Garden of Eden. God created a perfect environment for Adam and Eve. They were to name all the animals, and they were to explore and develop all the resources that God gave them. He told them that he gave them everything in the Garden. That doesn’t mean everything outside the Garden, but everything in the Garden for food, and it was good for them. But there was one thing they couldn’t do. Now the one thing they couldn’t do – they couldn’t learn about that through observation and experimentation. They couldn’t think their way through to that conclusion just on the basis of their reason and the right use of logic. That is, that one tree was prohibited, and if you ate of that tree you would die spiritually, instantly. They couldn’t get there through empiricism or rationalism.
That didn’t mean that they couldn’t learn a lot of things through empirical observation or through the use of reason and logic. But what would give proper order and organization to their reason and to their observations was this one fact that they could only learn from revelation, and that’s what I mean. When we say that revelation has to control our observation and our reason, that has an important application as I am talking about history. It is that when the Bible starts giving us history in the first historical books, the former prophets, Joshua and Judges, what are they preceded by? Are they preceded by history, or are they preceded by revelation? Revelation in terms of Torah, in terms of instruction.
It is the revelation of the Torah in the first five books of the OT that gives them the data points to be able to properly interpret history because the history that they see from Joshua on comes out of what is included and revealed in the Mosaic Law; without that they don’t have the tools to properly interpret history. The primary, most obvious tool of which would be what? We’ve gone through this so much. I am hitting it from a different angle. Leviticus 26, the blessings that God promises Israel if they are obedient and the five stages of divine discipline, the five cycles of discipline that God’s going to bring on Israel if they’re disobedient. That is the framework for really understanding Joshua.
Joshua is the conquest generation that’s obedient to God; and God is giving them victory and expansion; and they are always spoken of generally in positive terms all through the book of Joshua. But when you get into the book of Judges, they start falling apart as a result of compromise. They start falling apart because they don’t want to carry out from a human viewpoint perspective those regulations that God establishes in Holy War that every man, woman, child, sheep, goat, cow that the Canaanites own has to be slaughtered. They don’t understand the “why”. They won’t trust God. I talked about this Sunday morning. We often say “why”? If we don’t get an answer to why, then we’re not going to do it. But God says you don’t need the answer. If you trust me you don’t need the answer why, and I’m not going to tell you. Why should you do it? Because I said so. I’m God. You don’t need to know why. You just trust me and do what I say. Israel failed to do that.
We see that in the second generation after the conquest they began to compromise more and more, and that’s the beginning of the story of the episode that begins at the beginning of Judges. What we see here as we get into these books of history is that they are in a sense a theologized or editorialized view of history. We’re not told everything that happened, but we’re given the representative facts that happened, and they are woven together under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit to teach us what the causative effects of history are; and the causative effects in history are not what you can discover in the sociological observations or in the laboratory.
Sociology goes out and conducts a whole lot of surveys and collects a whole lot of data and then comes to conclusions, but they leave out the most important aspects. It’s like going into the Garden of Eden and coming out with a printout that’s 10,000 pages long with all the data about all the animals and all the trees, but you’re missing the most significant point, which is that there’s one tree that’s going to be the source of spiritual death. You have people go out and they’re analyzing society, what makes society work, what makes government work, all these different things; but they are leaving out the important points, and that is what God revealed. We have to understand God’s revelation related to:
- personal responsibility, divine institution #1
- marriage, divine institution #2
- family, divine institution #3
- human government (especially in these books), divine institution #4
- national distinctions, divine institution #5
These are social constructs. They are social institutions that God built into the warp and woof of human history and of the human race and human society; so that if you break down those things, then you are going to break down and destroy the culture that doesn’t fulfill those things. W are seeing evidence of that today.
So when it comes to history, to write history, you have to have three things. You always have three things. No matter who’s writing, no matter how pagan they are, there’s three things that need to be there:
What is the meaning of history? If you are a humanist and an evolutionist, then you basically have to end up saying that history is meaningless because life is meaningless because we’re all just the accidental result of some mass of protoplasm that had an electrical charge. There’s no value, no meaning to that. So history is meaningless. The events of history are meaningless. They’re just random data points. That’s why kids get bored in school. They don’t understand that it has meaning and significance; that history has purpose. It not only has meaning, but it has purpose. God is doing something in history. God is allowing things to happen in history at a national or macro level, and He’s allowing things to happen in the history of your life and my life that are designed to teach us how to walk with Him on a consistent basis.
Then there is a goal. Biblical Christian history means that history is moving to an ultimate destination. Marxism also believes that history is going in a direction. There’s thesis, antithesis and synthesis that Marx borrowed from Hegel. It keeps moving, and there is a new thesis and an antithesis and a new synthesis. It is always moving in a direction towards a goal in which case the proletariat will eventually all share in the wealth of everything. That’s Marxism. That’s why it’s called the Christian heresy because he perverted a linear view of history that comes from Christianity.
All other pagan systems have cyclical views of history, or it is just things that are flat. They don’t move linearly. Linear came from the OT. It came from Judeo-Christian history. It was the Jews who first produced history. Now if you went to school and got an education that was wrong, you were taught that it was the Greeks who were the first historians. But the Greeks didn’t come along until the 600s, the 5th century B.C. Thucydides and Herodotus: they’re basically chroniclers. The writers of Joshua and Judges preceded them by 1000 years. They were writing real history because real history is not just reporting what happened, but it is assigning a pattern; it’s assigning meaning and purpose and goal to what happened. You don’t just look at history as random facts, “one damn thing after another.” You look at it as the out working of the plan and purpose of God. History is His story.
When we look at it from a biblical viewpoint we have a specific meaning to history. God has supplied that meaning, and that it is related to the angelic rebellion, the angelic conflict; and it is related to God’s resolution of that, the defeat of Satan and the reclamation of planet Earth from the dominion of Satan, after Adam lost it, to reinstate the Second Adam upon the throne of God so that the Second Adam is the true man who will reach the ultimate destiny of man as defined in Genesis 1:26-28. Man is to rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the animals of the field. That is the purpose. So it is moving in a direction. That tells us that only Christians, only people who literally understand the Bible, can properly interpret and understand history.
It gives us the tools. As we go through these books it gives us the tools to not only understand “the what happened” and “the why it happened” in the OT, but it helps us then to see “the what is happening,” the what is really happening today and “why it’s happening” today and what the end result of that is going to be. We live in a generation that is so arrogant they think that hundreds of generations that preceded us have always come to the same conclusion, but we are so much better and so much more educated and so much more advanced educationally and technologically that it’s not going to happen to us. Socialism may have failed every time it’s been tried, but it’s going to work for us because we’re better. We’re Americans. We’re educated. We went to Harvard. We went to Yale. We went to Princeton. It’s not going to fail for us like it did for everybody else.
So Christians have a unique perspective on history That’s why Christians should love history. I can’t tell you how many people that I’ve talked to over the years who said that they use to hate history but once they became a Christian and started studying the Bible they learned to love history. They loved reading about history and understanding the meaning and purpose of history. So as we get into Samuel, we have to understand a couple of things. The first thing I want us to understand has to do with thought, and what’s happened historically in relation to how history has been destroyed over the last 200 years.
You’ve seen this before, not in a while (slide 6). We’re going to start this way. We live in a world that is filled with all kinds of details. Immanuel Kant called it “phenomena.” There are all kinds of details. We have “observable phenomena.” We can observe people. We can observe things. We can observe events and we can observe language. Language is really important in this because language is where the battle is being fought today. We can observe language.
How do we organize the data about people? In human viewpoint we look at it in terms of sociology. In things we look at it in terms of science, and that is all taught and understood within an evolutionary framework. When it comes to events, that’s history. When it comes to language that’s linguistic theory and meaning, and eventually that becomes hermeneutics and interpretation.
We are going to take all those details, all the specifics that we see in life, and we’re going to put them in a house. We’re going to put them downstairs. They’re in what we’ll call the lower story. In the lower story are all the details of life. This house has two stories. In this part of the diagram I’ve made the upper story white because that’s the realm of light.
Remember what the psalmist said, “In thy light I see light.” What that means is that only in the light of God’s revelation are we illuminated as to what is going on in the world around us. We can only see truth once we understand God’s truth and God’s absolutes. Upstairs is the realm of universals, what Immanuel Kant called the NOUMENA. This is the area that is dominated by the Creator God. I don’t put God there. I put the Creator God because everything in Creation is what it is because God made it that way. That’s why the doctrine of Creation is so vital.
If you throw out Genesis 1 and the doctrine of a Creator God who creates the way the Bible says, you’ve destroyed everything. Genesis 2 to Revelation 22 no longer has a foundation because once you throw out God you have to throw out good. Once you throw out good you have to throw out evil because you can’t have opposites. If you don’t have good, you don’t have its opposite. You can’t talk about evil. You talk to unbelievers and unbelievers will say, “well, how do you explain evil?” You ought to respond by saying “well, how can you talk about evil because you can’t have evil if you don’t have good and you can’t have good if you don’t have God. So you can’t even talk about evil if you don’t have God.” Real simple.
So God is up there in the upper story (slide 6) and this is the realm of meaning because it’s that light upstairs that illuminates downstairs. So we don’t understand the observable phenomena in terms of meaning unless we have the light of God. We don’t understand people and sociology. We don’t understand the systems and politics as part of sociology. We can’t properly understand it. We can get some facts right, but we can’t get the framework right if we don’t have the upper story in place. We can’t understand things, and that’s science. If we don’t have the upper story to give meaning to it. We can’t understand events or history or language. You can’t have a proper view of language so that what something meant in 1789 in the Constitution can’t be understood if you don’t have an absolute view of language in 2015.
This is a good time to read this. I have here a letter. This is on the letterhead of the Supreme Court of Alabama and signed by Judge Roy Moore, Chief Justice of Alabama Supreme Court, dated January 27, 2015. This just goes to show the harsh contrast between divine viewpoint absolute thinking and human viewpoint thinking. He writes to the Governor of Alabama, the Honorable Robert Bentley, and says, http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/01/alabama_chief_justice_roy_moor_1.html
Dear Governor Bentley:
“The recent ruling of Judge Callie Granade of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama has raised serious, legitimate concerns about the property of federal court jurisdiction over the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment” and he cites the Alabama Constitution of 1901.
The point that he is making there is that we live our lives on the basis of the rule of law and the law is a code of absolutes. So he goes on and he says, “As you know, nothing in the United
States' Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage.”
There are a lot of conservatives who think that these social issues are irrelevant. We just have to focus on conservative principles of economics. But the Bible says that if you don’t get your social principles right, i.e., the divine institutions, then the economics are going to fall apart. Because if marriage is breaking down and divorce is rampant, then you are destroying wealth over and over again and forcing hundreds of single moms into poverty and welfare simply because you have a bad moral system that is creating this kind of situation. Bad morals, bad social theory ends up with bad economics. He recognizes that the institution of marriage is something that is above and beyond the role of the federal government to define.
He said, “The people of this state have specifically recognized in our Constitution that marriage “is a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman”; that “marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state”; and that “union replicating marriage of or between persons of the same sex… shall be considered and treated in all respects as having no legal force or effect in this state.”
Where do you think they got that? They’re not going to get that from empiricism. They are basing that on law and legal precedent, but that legal precedent ultimately is grounded in something that is beyond law.
He says, “The Supreme Court of Alabama has likewise described marriage as “a divine institution.”
How do you like that? So much for separation of church and state because that’s a false concept. They describe marriage as “a divine institution,” imposing upon the parties “higher moral and religious obligation than those imposed by any mere human institution or government.” He cites the Court case for that, Hughes v. Hughes in 1870 and Smith v. Smith in 1904. That the Court in that second case also referred to marriage as a “sacred relation.” So that’s the law of the state.
He says, “The laws of this state have always recognized the Biblical admonition stated by our Lord: “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh.”
Twain is not the noise that a bow string makes on a bow, but the old English for two. They two shall be one flesh so then they are no more twain but one flesh.
“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10:6-9). Then he goes on to say, “Even the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that the basic foundation of marriage and family upon which our Country rests is “the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy…”
See “holy estate” that’s in the legal documentation. The Court records. “Holy” is a biblical term. It is a religious term.
“…in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent…” Where do you get that idea? It’s not in pure secularism. That comes from a biblical worldview. “That the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political involvement.” And that is cited as Murphy v. Ramsey in 1885 quoted in United States v. Bitty in 1908.
”Today the destruction of that institution is upon us by federal courts using specious pretexts based on the Equal Protection, Due Process, and Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution”.
See what they are doing is over here in the realm of language. They’re going to make language mean whatever they want it to mean coming out of the Constitution. So it no longer means what it says on the surface. They’re going to try to use this and twist it to their ends.
Moore writes, “As of this date, 44 federal courts have imposed by judicial fiat same-sex marriages in 21 states of the Union, overturning the express will of the people in those states. If we are to preserve that “reverent morality which is our source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement,” then we must act to oppose such tyranny!”
He then quotes Thomas Jefferson. He says, “On December 26, 1825, Thomas Jefferson wrote (this is a great quote): “I see as you do, and with the deepest affliction,” he’s writing to William Branch Giles. He says, “I see as you do, and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of our government” (this is in 1825, not 2015) “the federal branch of our government is advancing toward the usurpation of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers foreign and domestic; and that too, by construction which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their power. Take together the decisions of the federal court, the doctrines of the President, and the misconstructions of the constitutional compact (that is the) [U.S. Constitution], acted on by the legislature of the federal branch, and it is but too evident, that the three ruling branches of that department are in combination to strip their colleagues, (the States) the State authorities, of the powers reserved by them, and to exercise themselves, all functions foreign and domestic.”
See, this has been going on since day one in the federal government. Federal government seeking to suck up all the power away from the states. But as he will go on to point out this violates the 10th amendment.
Moore writes, “Jefferson’s words precisely express my sentiments on this occasion. Our State Constitution and our morality are under attack by a federal court decision that has no basis in the Constitution of the United States. Nothing in the United States Constitution grants to the federal government the authority to desecrate the institution of marriage. Indeed, the Tenth Amendment (of the Bill of Rights) states: “The powers not delegated to the United States (that’s the federal government) by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
In other words, if it’s not specifically said to be the responsibility of the federal government it isn’t! It goes to the states. That’s the Constitution. That should be the absolute law of the land. It goes on to say, “I am encouraged by the Alabama Probate Judges Association (that’s the Probate Judges in Alabama) which has advised probate judges to follow Alabama law in refusing to license marriages between two members of the same sex.”
So see, this isn’t Judge Roy Moore just running off because he doesn’t like something, and telling everybody don’t obey the federal government. This was in a court with the Alabama Probate Judges Association and based on the law of the state of Alabama. He goes on, “However I am dismayed by those judges in our state who have stated that they will recognize and unilaterally enforce a federal court decision which does not bind them.”
See this court decision doesn’t bind the states. We have to understand the law. That’s the point that he is making.
He says, “I would advise them that the issuance of such licenses would be in defiance of the laws and Constitution of Alabama. Moreover, I note that “United States district court decisions are not controlling authority in this Court.” He cites the case of Dolgencorp, Inc. v. Taylor, which was in Alabama 2009, and also Ex parte Johnson, which was a Court decision Alabama 2008. They quote, “This Court is not bound by decisions of the United States Courts of Appeals or the United States District Courts.”
So this is the basis for his decision. He understands that it is a concept of absolutes. But when you live in a country that has abdicated a view of absolutes, then not even the Constitution or law becomes absolute. You have already lost the territory and you’re no longer living in a country that can follow the rule of law because in relativism law itself becomes relative. So this upper story (slide 6) is the realm of universals, like values and morals and ideas. What is right and what is wrong.
But after Immanuel Kant, he said you don’t know truth as it is; you only know your perception of truth. So with Immanuel Kant nobody in the lower story, downstairs, could see the upstairs. And so it looked like this (slide 7): there’s a brick wall. The staircase can’t get you upstairs. You can’t go up to the top and find God or find meaning to get downstairs. They are two separate realms that don’t communicate with each other. You can’t know truth. Truth is relative. You can’t know truth as it is. You can only know your perception of truth. And so they always tried out this illustration of the blind men who are feeling an elephant. One person says it’s a tree because he’s feeling the legs. Another person says no you are wrong. It is like a wall because he is feeling the side. Another person says, no, it is like a snake because he’s feeling the trunk; and so on. So they’re all wrong because they don’t have an absolute, i.e., they can’t see what they’re actually looking at.
Once you buy into Kantian perspective, that there’s no truth, then there’s no God, there’s no meaning, and you’re just left in a hopeless state of existential despair and nihilism. That’s the ultimate goal. So the only thing that you can do to escape that existential despair is to just go party. Give total vent to your lust patterns and everything that you think makes you feel good and makes you happy because ultimately that’s the only joy that will ever be. It is depressing! But that is the first part of the good news, and as Christians we need to understand that. That’s the first part of the good news. You’ve got to know you’re lost before you can understand real hope and salvation.
Look at the Bible. The Bible gives us an accurate view of history. We have to understand this framework (slide 8).
We have the OT period. We start off with the Exodus in 1446 BC and then 40 years in the wilderness, which is actually 38 plus the year in Mt. Sinai, and then they enter into the land. They take a year from Kadesh, that area of the wilderness, to travel across to Mt. Nebo, and finally entering into the land. So that the total from the Exodus to the entry is 40 years, but they’ve got about 38 years in the middle when they are wandering around in the desert. Barren! We went there on the last trip to Israel. It was sort of retracing those steps.
This period, this green shaded area here, from 1406 BC to 1399 BC is seven years that roughly covers the conquest. Then you have this period of the first generation after the conquest generation. Relativism and compromise sets in from 1399 BC to 1360 BC with the first judge Othniel. Then you have approximately 300 years to 1051 B.C. when Saul becomes king when you have this period of the Judges. Remember, with the birth of Samuel it is about 1104-1105 BC. So that’s clearly right in this period of the judges.
When we look at the end of the period of the judges, the last two judges in the book of Judges are Jephthah and Samson. Jephthah is the one who offers his daughter as a living burnt offering; burns her alive as an offering to God. A pagan idea because he doesn’t know enough doctrine to know different. He’s grown up outside of Israel because his mother was a prostitute and he was excluded from the land; but he’s a believer, and God called him and gave him the enduement of the Holy Spirit to lead Israel in victory. The enduement of the Holy Spirit doesn’t guarantee that he’s error free or that he’s spiritually mature or anything else. It just gave him military power.
Then in the book of Samuel we’ll run into the corpulent Eli who just let’s his kids run wild. They are priests; and they’re literally raping the women in Israel when they come to worship at the tabernacle. And then Samuel who holds the office of prophet and restores honor to the priesthood. This will be followed by the united monarchy, Saul then David and then Solomon. That’s our framework for understanding this part of the OT (slide 9).
Here (slide 10) we see how this overlaps as we go to the end period of the judges. This is a period when because of the way the Jews are living in the land, you can’t tell them apart from the Canaanites. What they are doing shows the end results of paganism, the abuse of women. Jephthah burns his daughter alive. Samson is a womanizer. This is a result of the cultural influence of paganism on even the spiritual leaders of Israel. So we have Jephthah, whose dates are 1150 BC to 1100 BC. Notice Samson is born when Jephthah is about 22 years old. Notice Samuel is born some eight years later. So Samuel is growing up and reaches his maturity while Jephthah is still alive. That’s what’s fascinating; to watch these things and break them down and to see those correlations.
Samson is still alive much into Samuel’s adulthood. Samson’s down there as a prisoner in the temple of Dagon. So this is what’s going on in the background. You have the Ammonite oppression under Jephthah that comes in from the Transjordan area from modern Jordan. The capital of modern Jordan is Amman, which comes from the term for the Ammonites. Those are cognates. Then you have the Philistine oppression going on in the southeast down along the Gaza Strip. So we are talking about problems with the Gaza Strip and problems with Jordan. Some things don’t change a whole lot over history. This gives you perspective.
Then we have Saul born around 1084 BC. He becomes king around 1050-1051 BC. The major battles are down here at the bottom (of slide.) The Battle of Aphek where God basically says to Israel I’m not leaving you for good but right now you are so carnal I’m out of here. I’m gone. I’m going to go mess with the Philistines’ gods for a while. And then you have the Battle of Mizpah in 1084 BC, which is about the time of Saul’s birth and described in 1 Samuel 7:11, which is when you have the statement about Ebenezer. And it is after that Israel is going to come to Samuel and reject God as their king. One last little chart here (slide 11). We’ll come back to this.
In the era of Joshua and the conquest, the spiritual trend is that this is the great work of Yahweh (Yhwh). He’s going to give them the land of Canaan, and they’re going to defeat because they trust God. They are going to defeat the Canaanites and conquer the land. And they are going to serve God (Yhwh) as they were called to. It is only when we trust in God (Yhwh) that we’re enabled to serve God (Yhwh), and then God is going to bless us. They lived in a time of rich blessing. Then we have the next generation, which are the elders after Joshua, and they have the memory of Yhwh’s great work; and they remember it and they served Yhwh. But when the days after the surviving witnesses begin to disappear, then the people get away from God (Yhwh). They don’t know His great work. They forget it because it’s not passed on as they were told to from one generation to the next and they don’t serve God (Yhwh). Once that happens, we get into this whole cycle of deterioration in the judges.
They’re going to go through this several times (slide 12), disobedience, and then God is going to bring discipline upon them in accord with the five cycles of discipline; and then they are going to turn back to God and repent and cry out for a deliverer; then God will deliver them and then within a generation, they are going to disobey God again. It goes through this cycle again and again and again throughout that particular period.
The basic problem is Judges 17:6 and Judges 18:1 states it precisely (slide 13), “In those days there was no king in Israel;” no ultimate authority. It’s not talking about just the monarchy. God was supposed to be their King, the ultimate authority. “There was no king in Israel.” What’s the consequence? You take God out of the picture, then the only source of absolutes is the individual human being. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes, moral relativism. Judges 18:1 restates it verbatim, “In those days there was no king of Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in” and that just becomes a horrible situation. And Judges 19:1 says, “It came about in those days when there was no king in Israel.” The focal point of Judges is when they rejected God as their King, and then all hell broke loose on earth.
We could paraphrase this; just something for you to take home and think about. Let’s paraphrase these verses: In those days there was no constitution in Israel, no absolute respect for the law of the land because when you take God out, you take out the source of absolutes, and that is why we are living in a time when we can shift the Constitution into a living document that is going to mean something completely different for every generation. Before long it doesn’t just mean something different for every generation, it’s something different for every human being. What the Constitution means by freedom of speech to one person doesn’t fit for somebody else. Once you reach that stage, then somebody’s got to come along and redefine what’s acceptable speech. That’s why you start getting legislation like hate speech legislation. Because they’re redefining everything to create tools eventually to be used against citizens who aren’t conforming to the politically correct notions of the powers that be. That’s where we are today, and that’s where Israel was. It was a time of hopelessness, a time of economic despair, a time of moral relativism, a time when they didn’t seem to be able to survive. They were just about to fragment into oblivion, but for God.
That is the same thing in our lives. When things get bad and unfortunately we let them get bad, but the only solution, the only foundation for stability is God and walking by means of Him. When we walk in obedience to the Lord and walking in obedience to the Word, then we can have stability. That’s the only source of stability. That’s what made America great. That’s what gave America prosperity. That’s doesn’t mean we did everything right; and that doesn’t mean there weren’t problems that needed to be addressed, but ultimately for over 300 years from the colonization of the North American continent in the early 1600s. I know it went back into the 1500s with Jamestown and the growth of the Pilgrims in the 1620s. This developed from the 1600s through the mid 1900s; and then it crumbled because of what happened in the 1800s. The only way we are going to go back is a return to the foundation, but I don’t think that will happen. The only way we are going to survive is if we’ve got the Word of God in our soul, which means we’ve got to be here all the time listening all the time, putting the Word in our Soul because when things get really bad, that’s the only thing we’re going to have: what’s in our soul.
Father, we thank You for this opportunity to study this evening, and even though it’s not pleasant, it’s not optimistic, it’s true, and it’s not any different from that which was proclaimed by the prophets in Israel in the OT, pointing people to the problems, the irreversible negatives of the day, and presenting the fact that the only real hope, the only source of strength and stability is our walk with You. And that starts at the Cross when we trust in Christ as Savior and continues as we walk by the Holy Spirit filling our souls with the Word of God so that we can truly have optimism, hope in everyday life despite the negatives around us. Because we know that You’re in control, and we are just a scout team, a recognizance team, a team of those who are proclaiming the truth as ambassadors from the high court of heaven to the world around us; and that we need to have this kind of eternal perspective because we’re just here for a short time with a short mission defined by Scripture; and as long as we keep our focus on that we have real happiness, stability, hope, positive mentality, optimism based upon the truth of Your Word and not on the circumstances of life. We pray that You’ll challenge us with these things, and as we study to give us the insight to be able to judge the circumstances and the trends of the day. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.