The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

November 1996

                                                                     
Contents

1) Blaspheme God
2) Blaspheme God, New Testament
3) Lex Talionis
4) Election Reflection
5) Children-Parents, principle of obedience

                                                                     
Blaspheme God

Blaspheming the name of the Lord has become extremely common today. Christians seem to think nothing of blaspheming the Lord; maybe a reason it is so common is because they do not realize what they are doing. More than likely, though, they blaspheme that worthy name because they neither respect nor fear God the Father nor His Christ. Following God's Truth concerning blasphemy into the New Testament, we find that God Himself gives Satan access to His people who blaspheme God; and if He turns His people over to the enemy, then He also turns over their society to the enemy of our souls.

The first mention of blaspheming and the results of blaspheming the name of the Lord establishes God's feelings and actions toward the blasphemer. Study of Scripture will show that the New Testament result of treading under foot the name of the Lord, blasphemy, is even more serious than were the Old Testament result. The Old Testament result of blasphemy was stoning:

Lev 24:11 And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the LORD, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:) 14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.

Keil points out that the location in the text of this event of blasphemy is very significant: Vv. 1-9 talked about the holiness of the Lord and the means of approach to Him through the various rituals and ordinances. In the midst of giving God's law-word to man, showing man how to please and approach his holy God, is the situation of blasphemy, 10-16. In addition, the location of vv. 17-22, lex talionis, or law of like for like is equally important. Its location shows the very close connection between man's regard for the name of the Lord and the justice to be obtained between men.

Blaspheme: Balak wanted Balaam to curse Israel, Nu. 23:8, 25, and Moses and Aaron took these men which were expressed by their names, Nu 1:17; Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid, 2 Ki 12:9, and those who trust upon Pharaoh of Egypt will have his hand pierced, 2 Ki 18:21; Job cursed the day he was born, Job 3:8, and he cursed the habitation of the foolish; the people shall curse him that withholdeth corn, Pro 11:26, and the disobedient place their wages into a bag with holes in it. Pro 24:23-26;

These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them. Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.

Basically, blasphemy means "to speak bad of:"

Having got into a quarrel with an Israelite, the man scoffed at the name (of Jehovah) and cursed. ... It was this passage that gave rise to the custom, so prevalent among the Rabbins, of using the expression "name," or "the name," for Dominus, or Deus. (Keil, I.453. "The prohibition forbidding the utterance of the name is derived by the Jews from Lev. xxiv. 16, in virtue of an untenable exposition of the passage given in the LXX... Theology of the Old Testament, Gustav Oehler, Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, 2527 Girard Ave. N., Minneapolis, Min. 55411. P 92.)

Adam Clarke says there is nothing in the text of Lev 24:10, 11, that tells us that the man blasphemed the name of the Lord God Almighty, for the words are added by the translators. The word God, v. 15, does not necessarily mean the Lord God, but could mean false gods. Note the difference between v. 15 and v. 16, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin, and he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, implying that the God of v. 15 was not the God of v. 16:

Hence all that we term blasphemy here may only signify the particularizing some false god, i.e., naming him by his name, or imploring his aid as a helper, and when spoken of the true God it may signify using that sacred name as the idolaters did the names of their idols. ... In whatever point of view we consider the relation which has been the subject of this long note, one thing is sufficiently plain, that he who speaks irreverently of God, of his works, his perfection, his providence, &c, is destitute of every moral feeling and of every religious principle, and consequently so dangerous to society that it would be criminal to suffer him to be at large, though the longsuffering of God may lead him to repentance, and therefore it may be consistent with mercy to preserve his life. (Emp added. Clark's Commentary, I.589.)

Hastings says the word blasphemy has the general sense of slanderous, contumelious speech against either God or man:

... In classical and NT Greek (as also in EV) the word is not restricted, as in ordinary Eng. phraseology and Eng. law, to the divine relation, but has the general sense of slanderous, contumelious speech against either God or man. ... A special use in NT touches the human assumption of what is God's, the degradation of the infinite glory of the unapproachable God to the finite nature of the creature. Thus the word is put into the mouths of the Jewish accusers of Christ (Mt 9.3 26.65, Jn 10.36, Lk 5:21), and is employed likewise conversely by the NT writers and speakers to depict the sacrilegious and insulting denial by the Jews to Christ of what was His due status (Mt 27.39, Lk 22.65 23.39), and their equally sacrilegious and insulting charges against Him (Ac 13.45 18.6 26.11). (A Dictionary of the Bible, I.305.)

Blasphemy is, accordingly, defined as not giving the worthy name of the Lord, the works of the Lord, the perfection of the Lord, the infinite glory of the Lord and/or the divine providence of the Lord the deserved reverence; He is, after all, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36.)

Man, with his speech, reduces the Lord God Almighty to the level of a mortal man. Blasphemy is speech that refuses to give the Lord God His due status. Rather than exalting Him as the Creator, blasphemy reduces the Lord God Almighty to the level of the creature. Hence, a common blasphemous phrase we hear today among churched and unchurched is, "Oh, god!" (We will follow blasphemy and God's penalty against it into to the New Testament shortly.) Elsewhere, Hastings defines blasphemy:

BLASPHEMY (1) an ill-omened or profane utterance, a light or rash prayer; (2) a slander, or any defamation; (3) impious speech against God. ...
2. In the Old Testament.■It is to the Jewish and Christian law (with their off-shoots), then, that we have to look for the creation of the offense of blasphemy. We omit the 'contempt' for God referred to in Mal 1.8, (And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.) the dishonour done Him by withholding the offerings due to Him in Mal 3.8,9, (Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.)the swearing falsely by His name in Lv 19.12, (Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. 12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.) the sin 'with a high hand' of Nu 15.30 (But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.)(cf. 2 K 19.22)(Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel), the reviling (or murmuring against) the Elohim of Ex 22.28,(Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.) since, though these are all directed against God, they do not rise to the height of the specific sin of blasphemy. ... This (Lev 24:11, ed.) was the only kind of reproach against God which was punishable with death at the hand of man, lower kinds (such as those referred to above) being left to the judgment of God. ... To profane the name came to imply all forms of irreverence, of private insincerity, and of public disrespect for morality and religion. ... (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, II.669, 670, 672. Texts added.)

Several things are mentioned above as a means of blaspheming God:

First, offering or giving to Him less than the best: Though it is a free-will offering, anything less than the best is contempt towards God. Example: "We are finished with this ..., and/or we have a new one, so let's take this old ... down to the church." The local church, which is to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God on earth, thus becomes the recipient of the Christians' old, cast-off goods: It becomes little more than a "Christian dump."

Second, failure to give to God what is His due in tithes and offerings: The Word of God tells us what is His, and when we keep it, we rob God.

Third, professing to be something we are not: When our daily lives do not confirm what we profess with our mouth■love for God and that He is our first priority (Lord)■we deal falsely with one another. We will see much more of this from the New Testament.

Fourth, presumptuous actions: Thus men who profess to be speaking for God yet deny the total Word of God blaspheme God■they will die, Deut 18:20. See also Heb 10:26ff. (In the New Testament, the blasphemer was turned over to Satan.)

Fifth, speaking contemptuously against the rulers God has established over us: This, obviously, does not mean we must agree with rulers always, nor does it mean we must obey them in all things. It does, however, clearly tell us that we must not rail against them. See 2 Pet 2:10.

As bad as the above five things are, God does not permit man to enforce any penalty against those who blaspheme Him. Enforcement must be left to the Lord. (Heb 10:30, 31 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The New Testament implies that Satan is His 'enforcer.') However, blasphemy against the name of the Lord was dealt with by men in the Old Testament: the guilty was stoned.

JFB. gives this account of Lev 24:11,

... It was a common practice among the Egyptians to curse their idols when disappointed in obtaining the object of their petitions. The Egyptian mind of this youth thought the greatest insult to his opponent was to blaspheme the object of his religious reverence. He spoke disrespectfully of One who sustained the double character of the King as well as the God of the Hebrew people; and as the offence was a new one, he was put in ward till the mind of the Lord was ascertained as to his disposal. (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, I.501.)

Cursing one's parents was punishable by death; thus cursing God is even more serious.

First, the father was not named though he was an Egyptian. Did the father come out with the mother and her son? It only says his father was an Egyptian, but he could have remained faithless and remained behind in Egypt.

Second, v. 11, the name, but of the LORD was added by the translators. Vv. 15, 16 imply he spoke against the Lord God, but that is not what v. 14 says.

Third, the death penalty was carried out against a sin that was not yet been identified as a sin■v. 11 is its first mention. The prohibition against working on the sabbath had been established when the man was stoned for gathering sticks (Num 15; however, he was stoned for presumption, but that is another study), but that is not the case here■the law had not yet been given. In other words, the name of the Lord is so holy and honored that the people, though they were fresh out of Egyptian bondage, should have known not to use it like this man did.

Fourth, this law places everyone, Israelite and non-Israelite, under God's law. God's law applies to everyone■the whole earth is the Lord's and is accountable to Him. Thus even the pagans using a vain phrase of the Lord God results in disaster for society, for the next step is disregard for human life and justice, vv. 17ff.

Fifth, the sin here was with the tongue, words spoken in anger■in the heat of the moment■while two fought, v. 11, And the Israelitish woman's son ... cursed:

To enunciate a baseless formula is to intend or accomplish a violation (or reversal) of the created structure and to intend real harm, as by sympathetic magic. This is what children (or servants) are forbidden to do with parents (or lords, life-givers, Ex 21:17ff). Such an action is an attack on God himself and is punishable by death (Lev 20:9). It is deep rebellion against God to curse one's parents and then assert one's ethical purity (Prov 30:11; cf. Ezk 22:7). The ultimate offense is to rob God of his honor by using his name to express anger or frustration (Lev 24:11-23). (Emp added. TWOT, p 800.)

(Three points before proceeding: First, Brown-Driver-Briggs (p 886) identifies 1 Sa 3:13, vile with Lev 24:11, curse■God judged Eli's house when his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not; the judgment was very serious■And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. Second, also within the same word for curse is found Ex 22:28, Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people. Paul's use of this verse shows us it refers to the human rulers, even though corrupt, of the people, Acts 23:3ff. See also Titus 3:1ff.; 1 Pe 2:17; 2 Pe 2:10 & Jude 1:8, 9. Third, note the very close connection between cursing parents and cursing God; the same word, curse, is used for both and the same penalty is against the guilty in both cases, death■The anarchy we are seeing parents permit in the home will result in anarchy against religious and civil authority. Thus when people, including children, take out their anger and/or frustration with words against those in authority, they fit into the category of cursing God, and whatsoever is sown will be reaped.)

Accordingly, there is no excuse before God nor man for doing evil. A fit of anger (temporary insanity), drunkenness, &c., can not be used to escape responsibility for evil words and/or actions: "The ultimate offense is to rob God of his honor by using his name to express anger or frustration." The man in Lev 24 was put to death for using the Lord's name in his anger and/or frustration over the situation in which he found himself.

When evil is overlooked or the wicked doer is not held responsible because he was drunk or "temporally insane," God will see that the irresponsible society makes restitution: It dies in place of the sinner.

The only time "evil" was overlooked was in the case of INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER, a person's life was taken totally by accident, e.g., an axe head flew off and hit someone. At all other times, there was always someone accountable, even if the mean ox got out and hurt someone, Ex 20.

Evidently, the Egyptian was a proselyte in the midst of Israel. It is significant that the translators added of the LORD in v. 11. In other words, the name the man blasphemed was assumed to be the name that was/is above every name, and would not be uttered nor written by the Hebrews, cf. Phil. 2:4-11. See the argument in Heb 1 for the exalted name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Consequently, the problem in Lev 24:11 is over the name of Jesus as He is found in the Old Testament. Accordingly, we cannot imagine the reverence due to the name of God the Father as He is revealed in the New Testament Son, Whose name is so holy in the Old Testament that men refused to utter it. They called His holy name simply, the name.

Apparently, providence worked to bring the blasphemy about while Moses was receiving the instructions of vv. 1-9 from the Lord. It happened to emphasize the holiness of the Lord. The people brought the man to Moses who placed him in ward until the mind of the Lord could be determined. (This is the only jail in Scripture: in ward until determination can be made of the Lord's will in the matter.)

The man was the son of an Egyptian, part of the mixed multitude who came out with them. The application of the law to this man shows that everyone is accountable to God no matter what his heritage.

After showing He is not partial toward anyone (He protected His name and protected man's life with His law-word), the man was taken out and killed. (Christ died outside the camp.) The witnesses had to lay their hands upon him to transfer their guilt of hearing to the person of the guilty, and to show that they were faithful witnesses.

  • The Name

    The name of the Lord is protected with death in v. 16, and the Lord moves right to v. 17 to protect the life of man with And. The connection between the two passages is clearly established. Obviously, the Lord cannot be killed by man as can be the one guilty of murder, Lev 24:17. So His name is protected.

    Pro 22:1, one's good name is about the most important thing he owns, so the Lord holds that defaming someone's name is a very serious offence against both God and man. See 1 Cor 5:9-13.

    Sadly, modern society sees the name of the Lord God almighty as little more than a name whereby to express anger or frustration. However, until those professing Christ show godly honor and respect (not obedience when authorities violate God's Word) due to all authority, we cannot expect the nonChristians to respect the name of the Biblical Lord and God.

                                                                         
    Blasphemy and the New Testament

    Lev 24:14-16 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death.

    "But that's Old Testament," say the antinomians who desire to be freed from God's Word. The modern thought seems to be that God no longer cares how His name is used; thus it is permissible to use His name to, among other things, express anger or frustration. Admittedly, the New Testament does not require stoning of the blasphemer, but does that mean that God no longer abhors blaspheming His name? Does that mean that He no longer requires man to honour the Name that is above every name? What does the Word of God say?

    We will start our examination in Hosea 8:6,

    For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.

    Skipping over but remaining true to its context, v. 6 tells us that God's people did not fall into their sin by accident, but by design. Because it was an intentional sin, the people were blinded to the results of their sin and to other sins, James 1:22. They were self-deceived, and all the Godly prophets in the world could not cause them to see the light until that deceiving sin was dealt with. Throughout Israel's history, any kind of enlightening revival always emanated from confession and removal of sins■the false gods and works of their hands. Thus the modern calls to prayer for revival that overlook confession of sin according to 1 John 1:9 and Pro 28:13, 14 are exercises in futility.

    Paul, as though answering the argument, "But that's Old Testament," told Timothy, Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity, 2 Tim 2:19. Iniquity is defined by the Old Testament, 1 Jn 3:4. Paul continues his instruction to Timothy by telling him to study the Old Testament (v. 15) so he might be a clean vessel, usable by God and able to properly instruct others that they might recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will, v. 26. V. 26 indeed contains an important statement, who are taken captive by him (Satan) at his will.

    1 Tim 1:18-22, This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    Implied here is that Hymenaeus and Alexander were Christians who blasphemed. (Note 2 Tim 3:2, a mark of the last days is the proliferation of blasphemers. See also 2 Tim 2:17.) Blaspheme:

    to speak reproachfully... Spec. of those who by contemptuous speech intentionally come short of the reverence due to God or to sacred things... (Thayer, p 102.)

    Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    Those who intentionally refuse to glorify God as God are, accordingly, blasphemers. And delivered the two blasphemers of 1 Tim 1 to Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    Commenting on Daniel 5:25 (And he shall speak great words against the most High), Albert Barns said:

    This would be fulfilled in one who would blaspheme God directly; or who would be rebellious against his government and authority; or who would complain of his administration and laws; or who would give utterance to harsh and reproachful words against his real claims. It would find a fulfillment obviously in an open opposer of the claims and the authority of the true God; or in one the whole spirit and bearing of whose pretensions might be fairly construed as in fact utterance of great words against him. (g) This would be a persecuting power;■"and shall wear out the saints of the Most High," ver. 25. That is, it would be characterized by a persecution of the real saints■of those who were truly the friends of God, and who served him. (h) It would claim legislative power, the power of changing established customs and laws: "and think to change times and laws," ver. 25. (Barn's Notes, II.72.)

    Blasphemy is more than not giving proper respect to the name of the Lord. It includes rebelling against His government and authority, both of which are revealed in His laws. Consequently, those who complain against and/or deny the authority of God and His laws over the whole earth and over all mankind clearly blaspheme God. They are especially guilty when they openly oppose the institution of God's law as a moral code for all of life and action. The blasphemer utters words against God's world-wide dominion and authority as seen in His laws:

    The blasphemer... speaks irreverently of God, of his works, his perfection, his providence, &c, (and he, ed.) is destitute of every moral feeling and of every religious principle, and consequently so dangerous to society that it would be criminal to suffer him to be at large, though the longsuffering of God may lead him to repentance, and therefore it may be consistent with mercy to preserve his life." (Clark's Commentary, I.589.)

    Though we do not understand why, God has given the blasphemer power■positions of authority■to "persecute" those who uphold God's claims over the whole earth. Strangely enough, though denying God's authority to make laws to govern the whole earth, the blasphemer has no problem with the wicked having "legislative power." The blasphemer chooses the rule of the wicked over the rule of God.

    If Paul, with apostolic authority, delivered two men to Satan for blasphemy, what do we suppose the Lord, with all authority, does with those who blaspheme? Did not Paul say that the foundation of God standeth sure? Thus the Word of God is in action whether man wants to believe it or not.

    Paul warns Christians of all ages: Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. For if they do not, they are taken captive by Satan at his will. Satan is permitted by God to do as he pleases, and he does it slowly lest he waken the sleeping saints to their peril, 1 Cor 15:34. God issues His warning about the small, seemingly insignificant seed of blasphemy, Hosea 8:7:

    For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

    That seed will grow, mature and increase many fold. Paul used the Old Testament illustration of how sowing a small seed results in abundant fruit, Gal 6:1-9.

    It only takes one seed to reap up to 100 fold. God's people today are reaping what they have sown over the last 150-175 years. The prevailing thought today is blaspheme. Very few of His people glorify God as God over every area of life and thought. Very few of His people even glorify God as Lord over the local church that claims to belong to Him, let alone glorify God as God over civil authority; rather, they have chosen to be slaves of "Caesar" so they might claim "Caesar's benefits."

    Certainly, the Old Testament penalty for blasphemy, stoning, is no longer in effect. Rather, the New Testament penalty for blasphemy is in effect■delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. Only those who refuse to face reality cannot see what in society has been delivered unto Satan.

    However, Hosea does not leave us hopeless:

    Hosea 14:4-7, I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel (To spiritual Israel, Gill. Ed.) : he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

                                                                         
    Lex Talonis

    Eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth; breach for breach; like for like, or the lex talionis. Is "the law of retaliation" (Webster) valid for modern Christians? Did the Lord do away with Lev 24:17-22, breach for breach? Is it now wrong to expect evils to be made right through repayment? Obviously, lex talionis also includes capital punishment. See Ex 21:24. Observe our Lord's words:

    Mat 5:38-42 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

    It appears that the Lord told His followers that they should roll over and play dead as the wicked walk over them. But did He? Not hardly! The problem He dealt with in Matthew was the idea that evil actions could be retaliated against by, or returned for evil actions, that is, rendering evil for evil:

    He shows that contrary to the doctrine of the scribes, that the sum of the second table must be so understood, that we may in no wise render evil for evil, but rather suffer double injury, and do well to them that are our deadly enemies. (Geneva)

    Christ did not void lex talionis; rather, He said that it is better to suffer double injury than to retaliate■return evil for evil.

    Moreover, lex talionis was given to civil authority, not to individuals nor to the church, Rom 13:3. Examples:

    If an individual is robbed of $1,000, he is not given the right to break into the thief's house and take $1,000, nor to go after the thief with a gun. If he is injured by the carelessness of another, he is not permitted to do likewise against the careless.

    If a drunk driver kills a child with his car, the parents of that child are not permitted to run down the child of the drunk. No matter how tempting it might be, no matter how indifferent civil authority is to the murder committed by the drunk driver, the individual must not seek his own vengeance against the driver.

    The insurance industry is built upon the failure to enforce lex talionis- the individual must pay substantial rates to cover himself from the failure of the civil authority to make the offender pay the one he wronged for the wrong he did.

    The Lord, in Mat 5:38-42, is dealing with the religious leader's corruption of the Mosaic law, permitting personal vengeance against an evil doer. He forbids His people from that vengeance.

    The next Ye have heard in Matthew confirms the point: The corruption of the Mosaic law in v. 43 was just that, a corruption, for the law never said love your neighbour, and hate thine enemy,

    Exo 23:4, 5, If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him. Le 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (The parable of the Good Samaritan defined who is the neighbour.)

    Lev 24:17ff., Breach for breach, immediately follows the previous conflict over the name of the Lord. The Ten Commandments are divided so that the first table protects the sanctity of the Lord, and the second protects the sanctity of our neighbour.

    Commenting on Lev 24:20, Adam Clark said:

    Equal laws, where each individual receives the same protection and the same privileges, are the boast only of a sound political constitution. He who respects and obeys the laws has a right to protection and support, and his person and property are as sacred in the sight of justice as the person and property of the prince. He who does not obey the laws of his country forfeits all right and title to protection and privilege; his own actions condemn him, and justice takes him up on the evidence of his own transgressions. (Clark's Commentary, I.590.)

    "Same protection and the same privileges..." The fallen nature, whether professed Christian or not, wants the benefits of God's Commandments, e.g., "a sound political constitution," without the responsibilities of keeping those Commandments. The denial of God's lex talionis results in an unsound political constitution. No constitution of any state nor nation can bring stability and equal protection when the people of that state or nation deny the validity of lex talionis: Clark rightly points out that those who deny the validity of God's law also forfeit "all right and title to protection and privilege" of the law. That is, the deniers forfeit any claim for "justice" in the civil legal system, for the very basis of justice has been denied. Ex 21:12ff., gives the details of lex talionis as the Lord God Himself establishes true through restitution.

    Observe:

    First, our God and King rules over all:

    Ps 66:7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah. Ps 103:19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Pr 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

    Though the Lord is in heaven and man is on earth, we have the law-word of our King for our guide. (See also Dan 4:17, 25.)

    Second, His rule is just:

    Lev 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.

    It matters not one's nationality nor social standing. Our King has given one law for all men for all time. His righteous justice is revealed as He rules with impartiality in the affairs of men.

    Third, the Lord cares as much about man's safety as He does His own name, vv. 16 & 17.

    I am afraid we are far more interested in our own well-being and protection than we are for the well-being and protection of others. However, the Lord has the same high fence around His own name and around mans's safety.

    Note the close connection between the name of the Lord, v. 16, and man's safety, v. 17. Also notice the order in which they are given: first, the safety of the Lord's name, then the safety of man. Clearly, man's disregard for the life of others is a direct result of a disregard of the name of the Lord.

    In other words, there can be no justice among men, vv. 17-22, without proper regard for the very name of the Lord God, vv. 14-16. When men, society in general, disregard the holy name of God, the natural result is injustice among men.

    Fourth, differences between men are to be settled by fixed rules, not by emotions, circumstances nor race. God establishes the laws and everyone is held accountable, v. 22.

    Fifth, v. 16 gives the penalty for injuring the name of the Lord. This section gives the penalty for injuring one's fellow man. In fact, in the same breath as the Lord protected His name, He protected man.

    Sixth, the Breach for breach law reveals God's grace toward men. He builds a fence around life. This law follows the death of someone who blasphemed His name. Thus He shows the same concern for man's life as He does for His own name. The penalty of violating both is death.

    Obviously, the institution of lex talionis by civil authorities would solve 90% of our crime problems. This law saw to it that crime did not pay. Life is precious to the Lord: Twice He says the penalty for killing another is death.

    The only time this penalty is not in effect is accidental killing (for which the cities of refuge were provided, Ex 12:13), self-defence and military action (see 1 Ki 2:5). Actually, righteous military action is in self-defence.

    Killeth especially means premeditated murder, and also includes killing by carelessness and drunkenness. See Ex 21:12-36.

    Matthew 5:38 did not do away with lex talionis. Rather, it forbad seeking vengeance or using the law for one's own purpose. The Lord was very firm in saying that the same law applied to everyone who was in the land.

    When Mat 5:38-42 is misused to void God's lex talionis, an "unsound political constitution" must develop regardless of what is written down on paper. The resulting unstable judicial system will turn loose the most wicked people on technicalities. But the general population will not tolerate the political and judicial instability forever. Unless Christians unite in saying and acting like the Lord God meant what He said in His lex talionis, the next step is anarchy followed by tyranny.

                                                                         
    Election Reflection

    "IT'S CLINTON" said the Indianapolis Star, 11/6/96. Clinton's win, however, was in spite of Clinton:

    Even while they were casting ballots for Clinton, voters expressed reservations about him. More than half of voters said the president was not honest...
    In the end, though, voters said overwhelmingly that issues were more important to them than character, and that it was Clinton... who shared more of their views.

    The article goes on to say that "Blacks and Hispanics also voted for the president in high numbers." Those who have kept track of current events know that the INS is embroiled in controversy over letting in so many immigrants who should have not been allowed into America, let alone permitted to vote. Additionally, the "motor voter" bill no doubt had its desired effect: One does not need proof of citizenship to be a registered voter.

    What happened? I believe the situation can best be summed up with some illustrations:

    First, some time ago, this pastor attended a wedding where the bride dressed in white, and thus presented herself as being pure to the groom and the onlookers. Be that as it may, children born out of wedlock to the bride and groom participated in the wedding.

    "My, how bad that is," some might say, "but what can you expect from the unsaved? Christians would not do such a thing."

    Second, about 25 years ago, I worked for some time for a man who sold used school busses to churches, picking up and delivering new and used busses over a many state area to the tune of over 100,000 miles a year. At times, I would deliver busses to churches, and being single at the time, I would spend the weekends. How well I remember in another state going to breakfast with a very well known pastor and some other Christian leaders. When the waitress came to our table, the pastor who had bought the busses made such extremely lewd remarks to the waitress that I was embarrassed to be identified with the group of men.

    Third, there is an extremely well known pastor who has traveled the country for years promoting "soul-winning" and church growth. He, with the aid of his pastor friends, is currently involved in "rallies" all over America in an attempt to "rescue America" from the ungodly. For the last several years as this pastor has traveled the country, the husband of one of his secretaries has also traveled the country trying to warn others that this pastor has an ongoing, ungodly relationship with the man's wife. In fact, the husband has published a book documenting the secret, ongoing wicked relationship between the pastor and the man's wife.

    It is becoming all too common to hear of well-known, "hell-fire and damnation" pastors/teachers being involved in wickedness while retaining their positions, yet their followers overlook the evil with, "Well, he is seeking counselling," or "He has been working too hard" (as was said when a world renowned "Christian" educator became involved in adultery).

    The point is that very seldom do even Christians make a distinction between private actions and public appearances. How can Christians, accordingly, complain when those who make no profession of Christ obviously vote their consciences that private actions have no public consequences? Do they not vote the same toward "Christian" leaders by continuing to follow them? Is it any wonder that reprobates can be placed in public civil offices as long as they maintain a good public image when reprobates are left in places of "Christian" leadership as long as they can maintain their followings and incomes for their "ministries?"

    Nehemiah 9 tells us that God gave to His people a good land; His people became fat, and delighted themselves in God's goodness. However, they turned their backs upon the clear teachings of God's Word, and the Lord Himself delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who vexed them. The Lord deferred His judgment against them, but they would not change their ways. Finally, however, the Lord, in His righteousness, gave them into the hands of the anti-God people of the land. Because the people refused to be the servants of the Lord God, God made them servants of their enemies in their own land.

    "That's Old Testament," will be the cry of the antinomian who desires to be assured of heaven while pursuing his own carnal lusts and covetousness. 1 Timothy 3:2, 8, and Titus 1:6, clearly tell us that Christian leaders MUST be blameless, and all the pious platitudes the ungodly can muster to their defense will not change the fact that their works deny God, and they are abominable, disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate, Titus 1:16. Neither the "Christian" leader nor his/her followers should be deceived, for God is not mocked: Those who sow to the flesh will reap of the flesh destruction, Gal 6:7. In fact, fornication, covetousness and uncleanness of all kinds will bring the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience, Eph 5:3. The warning is that those who desire to please the Lord must not be identified with the wicked, no matter what name the wicked go under, "Christian" or civil leaders, v. 7.

    God gives us many illustrations in His Word about how His people will reap what they sow, e.g., when they mocked God by casting His Word behind their backs, He made His people servants of the ungodly in their own land, Neh 9:26.

    When the character issue in "Christian" leaders is shamelessly ignored by professed Christians, we cannot begin to expect the nonChristians to respect the character issue in civil leaders.

    Hypocrites hold others to standards they are unwilling to meet, or that they see no need to meet.

    Finally, the answer is, obviously, godly civil leaders who will institute godly civil laws. But such godly civil leaders are impossible without a godly consensus among the people. Whether a republic, democracy or monarchy, godly rule comes from the bottom, not from the top down.

                                                                         
    Children-Parents

    Col. 3:20

    Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
    2 Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

    No verse of Scripture will stand by itself: Col 3:20 can not be understood apart from ALL Scripture. Every verse of the Bible has to be interpreted in the context of all of Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. Col 3:20 must be understood in the light of the general teaching of God on authority. The use of obedience to authority cannot go against the law of God, for all obedience is in terms of God's word.

    Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

    Both Colossians and Ephesians are given in the same passage as is the instruction to the wife:

    Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
    Col 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

    Both are given in the context of the husband being under God's authority, which alone is proper authority. The authority of the parents, as well as authority in general, must fit within God's general teaching on authority.

    All authority belongs to God/Christ, Mat. 28:18. Every person, whether in authority or under authority, will answer to God: How well did they obey God's law, 2 Cor. 5:10? This means that all obedience to any authority must be within the confines of or in relationship to God's Law-Word. God, in His law, has given the principles of life, Pro 7:1-3. All obedience must be within the boundaries of His lawful precepts. His Law-Word alone defines righteous, i.e., right, activity, 2 Tim. 3:16. Man's word can never be allowed to define instruction in righteousness.

    Thus if anyone tells us to do anything contrary to God's law, we have a much higher law to obey, God's instruction in righteousness■right living. God gives no person the right■though He may see fit to give the power■to tell another person to disobey the law of God as found in Rom 13:9, 10. The one in authority may have the POWER to demand that another disobey God, but this is far different from having the Biblical right to make such a demand. When authority departs from God's law, they have also forfeited all claim for obedience from those under them.

    Godly submission is always to God, never to man: Our bodies are presented to God, not to man, Rom 12:1. It is God's will that is good and perfect, not man's, Rom 12:2. Human authorities' proper (lawful) demand for obedience is based in their obedience to God's law. Our submission is based in submission to the law of God.

    God has not given husband's the right to forbid his wife to obey God nor to demand that she sin, Eph 5:22, as unto the Lord, Col 3:18 as it is fit in the Lord. God has given no parent the right to forbid a child to obey God nor to demand a child to commit sin (such as to steal, murder, fornication), Eph 6:1, in the Lord. Obedience or disobedience is always in relationship to the Lord God and His Word. Obedience or disobedience is never in terms of man made laws. Those in authority may have the temporal power to make demand contrary to God's Law-Word, but God's Word instructs those under that authority how to respond, 1 Peter, especially chapter three.

    There is no condemnation of Abraham for trying to stay alive: rather, God judged Pharaoh strongly (Gen. 12:17) and brought Abraham out greatly enriched by way of restitution (Gen. 12:16; 13:2). God similarly intervened to judge Abimelech (Gen. 20:3-6), even though Abimelech could plead his own integrity; nonetheless, because he headed a lawless order, God held Abimelech responsible, and restitution ensued (Gen. 20:14-18). In both instances, there is not the slightest hint of any condemnation of Abraham, every indication of God's judgment on monarchs for maintaining lawless orders in which Abraham dared not move honestly and openly.
    In all these cases, there is not only judgment by God against the offender but restitution to the offended. (The Institutes of Biblical Law, I.462.)

    In other words, lawless authority at times requires action that may appear to be lawless. Thus Abraham's action (and Sarah's) was an action of self-defence. A person can kill in self-defence and it not be murder. Abraham lied in self-defence against the ungodly, and it was not considered by God as a lie. Again, we see that all action is in relation to God's law.

    Conclusion:

    1. All authority and power belongs to God. He alone has the right to make laws and place requirements on people.

    2. He raises up whom He will, and He gives authority to whomever He wants to give it, Daniel 4:17.

    3. All rebellion is in relationship to God's law. Rebellion can never be in terms of what man considers right or wrong, 1 Sam.15:22. It does not matter if the person is a parent, a pastor, an employer or a "civil servant," God never gives any person the right to determine what is proper instruction in righteousness. However, God many times sees fit to give temporal power to ungodly people to enforce wrong over right, e.g., Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4. Nor does He give any person, child or parent, the option of which of His laws to follow and which ones to disregard.

    Just because a person is in authority does not mean he has the God given right to sin, and requiring another to depart from God's Word is the worse of sins. The Scriptures in no way teach the divine right of kings (the king can do no wrong). Even the king must rule in terms of the Law-Word of God or forfeits his mandate from God for the people to obey him. Never does God require any person to submit to ungodly laws. (See LEX REX or THE LAW AND THE PRINCE, by Samuel Rutherford, 1644. Sprinkle Publications, 1982.)

    Anytime the requirements of any person in authority departs from the requirements of the Lord God as revealed in His total word, the choice is made for us, WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN, Acts 5:29. At all times, we are to fear God rather than man, Mat. 10:25-28. Godly fear obeys God over man when the two conflict, for it fears God more than man. And there is no age limit on God's requirements. No place does the Lord say that if the authority over us disagrees with the law of God, we are to obey that authority: The Word of God militates against such nonsense.

    How about when the authority over us requires us to disobey God? The godly appeal fits in here. Any resistance to authority over us must be grounded in submission to God or it is rebellion, Rom. 12:1,2, 2 Tim 2:25. Thus the resistance will be with the meek and quiet spirit as was displayed by the three Hebrew children, Dan 1:8. But in the appeal to authority, there is no room to even consider that Daniel would have eaten the meat if his appeal had been rejected.

    When the laws and requirements of men (or any individual in authority) hinder the Christian's obedience to the King, appeal them; if appeal fails, amend them; if amending fails, treat them as did the three Hebrew children and Daniel ignore them and proceed on with our obedience to God. It is a higher, holier allegiance which must draw our obedience.

    (For a complete treatment of the general principle of proper submission to authority, see our little booklet on Romans 13:1-5.)

  • Personal note:

    This is why we can not support Bill Gothard. His teaching on authority is unscriptural: He teaches the authority of the local pastor, then he went to Nebraska and taught rebellion against a local pastor. He completely undermined the local pastor when he told the men in jail that their pastor was wrong. In addition, he will not permit his home school material to be used unless it is under the authority of the state through the local school board. How can any one who is committed to the authority of the Lord over their children agree with this? Placing a home school under the authority of the state is totally contrary to the word of God. The children belong to God, not to the state nor to the parents, Ps 127.

    Pastor Need


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