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

May 1997



1) The Faithless Spies
The Name of God


The Faithless Spies

Numbers 13:1-33

     This chapter gives us an account of unbelief among God's people; despite the promises of God, faithlessness prevailed. As Israel approached the promised land, the spies were sent in to spy out the land. V. 2, Twelve men were chosen, one from each tribe. Though not necessarily chief rulers, the chosen men were rulers among the people.

     Of the twelve spies, only 2 proved to be godly and faithful men: Caleb of the tribe of Judah, and Jehoshua, or Oshea, of the tribe of Ephraim. The other ten, though rulers in Israel, were cowards and faithless.

     Notice an important point about this chapter: The names of the faithless men are very carefully recorded for all the world to see—recorded in a manner so they cannot be mistaken for anyone else. Their tribes are identified, as are their fathers.

     This should cause us to think: These are names of infamy, permanently recorded in the Word of God until the end of time. The ten names are a reminder to us that God forgets nothing. The Bible is not just a record of sweetness and light, for the Lord is keeping record of every thought, word and deed.

     Vv. 3 & 17 tells us that it was by the commandment of the Lord that Moses sent these men to spy out this land. (He probably sent them out two by two.) However, we are not here told an important fact that is recorded by Moses some time latter. Certainly, God did command the land to be searched out, but Deut. 1:20-46 records some details of what took place in Num. 13. There are three points given there concerning the spying out of the land.

     First, the people, not the Lord, came to Moses with this suggestion, Deut 1:22. The excuse they gave to Moses was that the spies would have a military purpose; they said that they would find the best way to go into the land. This was a lie to deceive Moses and to cover up their fear and lack of faith. According to John Gill:

Ver. 1. And the Lord Spake unto Moses, &c.] When in the wilderness of Paran, either at Rithmah or Kadesh; this was on the twenty ninth day of the month Sivan, on which day, the Jews say {o}, the spies were sent to search the land, which was a scheme of the Israelites' own devising, and which they first proposed to Moses, who approved of it as prudential and political, at least he gave his assent unto it to please the people, and carried the affair to the Lord, and consulted him about it; who, rather permitting than approving, gave the following order; for the motion carried in it a good deal of unbelief, calling in question whether the land was so good as had been represented unto them, fearing it was not accessible, and that it would be difficult to get into it, and were desirous of knowing the best way of getting into it before they proceeded any further; all which were unnecessary, if they would have fully trusted in the Lord, in his word, promise, power, providence, and guidance; who had told them it was a land flowing with milk and honey; that he would show them the way to it, by going before them in a pillar of cloud and fire; that he would assuredly bring them into it, having espied it for them, and promised it unto them; so that there was no need on any account for them to send spies before them; however, to gratify them in this point, he assented to it:

     Note that the rulers, by in large, reflected the attitude of the people toward God. Likewise, rulers today simply reflect the faithlessness and ungodliness of the people they represent. Example: This pastor is continually amazed over a simple thing like brides' apparel at weddings—Brides dress in white as though they were presenting themselves pure at the alter, yet their children from other marriages or out of wedlock are the flower girls and ring bearers. The general population has no conception of sin any longer. What has happened to the Christian social influence? (It is locked up inside “Christian monasteries,” the average “evangelical” church.)

     The people of Num 13 had no stomach for an invasion unless it would be a very easy one; they had no desire for a long, hard road of discipline and warfare; they were concealing cowardliness in the name of strategy.

     Looking back, it should be obvious that the desire to search out the land was little more than an excuse—for some time, the Lord had been leading the people with the cloud and pillar of fire. He had never led them wrongly, and He would not now lead them to destruction.

     Second, Moses took their words at face value: and the saying pleased me well, Deut 1:23. (“Taking it to be a rational and prudent scheme, not imagining it was the effect of fear and distrust.” Gill) He was greatly encouraged that the people seemed to be readily willing to accept the responsibility to take the land, so ready that they asked for spies to be sent out.

     Third, the Lord knew about their deceit and cowardliness, but He instructed Moses to send them anyway, Num 13:1, 2. God later reminds them of their deceit and faithlessness: Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God, Deut 1:32. The Lord allowed the people to have their way that the whole world might see their faithlessness and unbelief, and the results of faithlessness, Heb 3:19ff.

     In the above illustration with the spies, we see that a great and strong people can become cowardly and foolish, loosing all resolution and power through faithlessness. More that one world power has fallen because their enemies saw moral degeneration in their leaders.

     Pr. 28:1, The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

     Courage and the willingness to take a stand for right and righteousness comes from moral character, not from any genetic quality. In other words, when faith and moral character grow weak, so does courage to stand for righteousness.

     Palestine (Canaan) of Moses' day and even in our Lord's day was a vastly different Palestine than we have today. It was extremely well wooded and well watered. The land was capable of supporting a very large population of people and animals.

     According to Num 13:22, a key area visited by the spies was Hebron. It was located about 20 miles south of Jerusalem, and was a very ancient center of civilization. Hebron is listed as older than the ancient Egyptian city of Zoan.

     The names of some of the inhabitants of Canaan are listed in Num 13:28, 29: The children of Anak were a very tall people, maybe around 9-10 feet tall, who made a very deep impression on the spies, for they mention them again in v. 33 (modern archeology has found evidence of a race of giants in that area); the Amalekites were a vicious and warlike people whom Israel had already met, Ex. 17; the Hittites were one of the better known tribes of peoples that scholars are familiar with today; the Jebusites held the Jerusalem area, and remained there until David became king some 500 years latter, and the Amorites and Canaanites refer to the people who had inhabited this land for many years.


     Caleb is a key figure in the account, being an interesting person in many ways. Though he was one of the leaders of the tribe of Judah, he is called a Kenezite. The Kinzites had been one of the Canaanite nations that God promised to depose from the land; however, they were not listed as present in the land when Joshua took Israel into Canaan. Evidently, the Kenezites had been absorbed into the tribe of Judah. Calab's Kenezite father's name was Jephunneh. Six times, we are told that Caleb fully or wholly followed the Lord. (See Gen 15:19; Num 13:6, 30; Josh 14:6, 14; 1 Ch 4:15. 2 Ch 2:18, 19, 42, lists a Caleb as a son of Hezron, a Judahite and father of Hur and grandfather of Caleb, the spy. Then there is another Caleb listed in 2 Ch 2:50, as the son of Hur. It is confusing, but it seems that the Kinzites had been absorbed into the tribe of Judah through Hezron.)

     The point is that Caleb, the faithful spy, was not a natural Israelite by birth, but he was an Israelite in deed. (Cf., John 1:47) Caleb's faithfulness would have been a very obvious rebuke to the faithless natural children of Israel: Of the only two men who proved to be faithful, one was a foreigner, a Canaanite and an Israelite by adoption. Thus we are reminded at the very beginning of national Israel's history that the true Israel of God has always been, is now and will always be by grace through the faith of Abraham, not by race.

     Again and again, the humbling fact is that several of the key people in the history of redemption have been aliens who were adopted into the covenant; those aliens were more faithful than even the native born Israelites: Rahab was a Canaanite harlot from the city of Jericho, and Ruth was a Moabite lady who married Boaz, David's grandfather.

     We made mention of the exceptional fertility of this land, its forests, rivers and fertile planes. The Romans were the first to devastate it when they conquered the Jews. The damage inflicted in 70 A.D. left the land beyond recognition. The Romans were followed by the Turks, who completed the devastation of the whole of the middle-east. When Scripture speaks of the area as a wilderness, it does so because it was so heavily forested. All of that is gone now. North America was also referred to as a wilderness, but not because it was barren.

     The area was described as a land flowing with milk and honey, which is a term referring to peace and plenty, Num 13:27. Honey speaks of the fields and hills covered with flowers and blooms of trees, and milk speaks of well fed dairy herds.

     In the report of the ten faithless spies, we find four points worth considering:

     First, they reported the amazing fertility of the land, bringing back samples of the fruit of the land as proof of the high quality of the farm produce, v. 23, 27. The samples were a witness to the productivity of Canaan.

     Second, the faithless spies had another motive for bringing back such a huge bunch of grapes and such a superior a kind of pomegranate and fig. They were saying in effect, “If you think these are big, wait until you see the size of the people who grew these things.”

     Of course, not all of the people of Canaan were of such stature, but they stressed the size to intimidate the Israelites. In their faithlessness, they had been intimidated, so now they wanted every one to be intimidated: They saw themselves as grasshoppers, and wanted every one else to see the same thing, v. 33.

     They could not have painted up a clearer picture of the situation as they saw it, nor a more deceptive one. A person can step on and squash a grasshopper at will, so there is no contest between men and grasshoppers, which was the picture the ten wanted to paint. The ten were cowards, and they desired to press the whole congregation into their faithless frame of mind. They preferred slavery in Egypt to fighting for freedom. Without faith, they were empty men, so they wanted God to hand them Canaan without the fight. They desired to be carried into the promises of God on flowery beds of ease while others fought to win the prize. Call then when the battle is over!

     Third, note the statement, eateth up the inhabitants thereof, Num 13:32. The impression that these ten wanted to give was that the land ate up the inhabitants because of the hostile environment—maybe wars, disasters, plagues, infectious diseases, or anything else that could destroy the inhabitants. Their vague report implied that it was a place to be avoided: It was a false report that had its intended results—discouragement of the congregation of the Lord.

     Deut 19:16-21, summarizes the penalty for a false report: The one giving the false report is to have done to him what he sought to have done to the one he falsely reports. The ten faithless spies died of a plague before the Lord as judgment against their cowardly report, Num 14:37. So too did all of the people who believed their report. The very death they feared in Canaan as a result of their evil report was met by them in the wilderness.

     Fourth, the spies reported that the walled cities were impregnable, v. 28. They said that there was no possible way the people of the land could be overcome. As they presented only defeat at the hands of the pagans, they implied that it would be foolish to try any kind of an assault on Canaan. Having gone on a military mission, they brought back an evil, military report—It was mission impossible to take from the pagans what God had promised them.

     Not only were these men cowards, but they were defeatist, seeing absolutely no chance of victory for God's people over the ungodly despite God's promises. They saw only hopeless defeat for the kingdom of God on earth. And to make it even worse, they worked, even lied, to prevent God's people from believing otherwise.

     Caleb tried to convince the people that they could have the victory because God was on their side: “Let us go now take the land, for God is on our side.” Yet the ten faithless men worked against any such notion, vv. 30, 31. It appears that the more Caleb tried to encourage the people toward confidence, obedience and victory, the more the faithless worked to discourage the people. The ten faithless spies countered Caleb's good report with what was called an evil report, v. 32. The word report is rendered slander in Pro. 10:18, He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. Slander: defamation, unfavourable saying. (See also Num 14:36, slander upon the land, and Ps 31:13, For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me... Sounds like the ten faithless spies.)

     In other words, they countered Caleb's efforts to encourage the people in the power of God to overcome the ungodly with a slander against God: They slandered the power of God to convince the people that God was unable to subdue the enemy before them. The ten faithless men slandered the very Lord God who had redeemed them from bondage and who had led them thus far.

     The ten left no option except retreat and return to Egypt, and wait there for God to deliver the land to them with no effort on their part. Their evil report had covered every point that might have given the people any hope of victory; they worked to convince God's people that there could be no victory. As far as the ten were concerned, fighting and victory was out of the question.

     Notice what these ten faithless, defeated men accomplished with the evil report. Every since Moses had shown up among them in Egypt with the message to Pharaoh to let the people of God go, Israel had seen God work in marvelous ways. Time and time again, God had shown Himself strong in their behalf, but these ten were able to persuade God's people that God could not conquer the land before them. Apparently, the ten fully expected the Lord God to deliver to them the promise made to Abraham in miraculous way. If God was not going to give them this land in a miraculous way as He had opened the Red Sea, they were not going to move. Their faithlessness asked for God's judgment against them. (See James 2:20-26.)

     Though God had promised them victory in any war conducted according to His law and according to His commandment, the promise meant nothing to them:

Num. 10;9 And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

     Forty days had been spent by the spies in Canaan, yet, evidently, the only ones who had actually viewed the land in terms of God's promises was Jehoshua and Caleb. The others were controlled by fear, and were looking for anything to make the whole people fearful so they would not have to fight.

     Archeology has proved that the statement by the fearful spies in v. 28 was correct: The ungodly were strong and well fortified. However, we are told in Pr. 21:31 that The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. The Lord tells us that fortifications and armament are not everything. The ten overlooked the corruption of the ungodly, and more importantly, they willfully turned their backs on the power of God. Following Hittite control, Egypt controlled Palestine; however, the Lord Himself had just broken the power of Egypt in the Red Sea. Palestine not only consisted of morally corrupt people, leaving them helpless, but the people were accustom to being ruled by others: The nations were now open for the taking. A people with a strong faith and moral base could have easily conquered them.

     Though God knew the intent of the people in asking for the spies, He commanded Moses to follow their wishes: He tested the people's faith, and they failed. Indisputably, they preferred to be ruled by the fear of man than by the fear of God; fear of men over the fear of God is the mark of slavery, the slave mentality. They preferred the slavery of Egypt over faith and the hard work of warfare which would be required to gain freedom under God, Num 14.


     First, the world is ever full of difficulties; it is absurd and foolish to hope otherwise. We must see all difficulties in terms of God's Law-Word and government, in terms of His sovereign purpose.

     Second, the twelve spies were clan leaders: They were not necessarily the head men, but they were important men. Therefore, they were fairly representative of the spiritual condition of God's people. Caleb and Jehoshua were exceptions.

     What we see in God's people in Deut 1 was not a religious fear, but an ungodly fear: It was a fear of man, not a fear of God. With what happened in Num 13, Israel's chance to enter into Canaan in that generation ended. They had proven themselves to be true slaves, not God's free men. The result was that shortly thereafter, they were sentenced to die in the wilderness.

     Third, their unbelief was a rebellion against God in the form of a revolution. History is a long record of man's revolt against God and His Law-Word, along with the results of that revolt. God cannot lose in the war against the ungodly, nor can man win without God.

     Fourth, ten of the twelve were wrong, and the whole congregation believed their slander against God. Slander is clearly defined in Num 13 and Deut 1 as failing to believe God's promises that He can defeat the ungodly through human means. Only two were faithful and true witnesses. God's people must be governed by faith in God Word and by their fear of God, not by the fear of what man can do to them.

     Fifth, being a false witness against the power of God to overcome the ungodly will catch up. We can count on the Lord keeping record, and He will see that the false witness gets what he sought to do to others.

     Sixth, true freedom and courage comes from a strong faith in the power of God to overcome all obstacles. Moreover, those who do not have the moral courage to live godly midst an evil generation will forever live in the bondage to wicked men.

     Seventh, the ten faithless men did not see any way that God could conquer the heathen. They only saw doom and gloom and defeat, so they slandered the good name of the Lord. It is evident that they expected to be ruptured into Canaan—carried on flowery beds of ease—with all the enemies of God miraculously subdued before them. They refused to allow any opposition to their opinion that victory over the ungodly was possible, and they excited the people against any one who did not hold to their united opinion against a victorious faith.

     Eighth, all who claimed to be Israel were not Israel. There were only two true Israelites among the twelve: Joshua and Caleb.

     All of this is recorded for us that we might not be a faithless generation as they were, Hebrews chapters three and four.

     Do we slander the name of the Lord with faithlessness? Are we true Israelites?


The Name of God

Exo 34:14/Heb 12:26

     The LORD (note the spelling) reveals His name to Moses, and His name is given specifically to His people: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, Exodus 34:14. The LORD's jealousy over His people is a key aspect of the law, and every thought and action of His people must be in consideration that the Lord is a jealous God. The revelation of the LORD's name to Moses was not new, for it had been strongly implied within the hearing of all the people, 20:5. Evidently, the people did not believe or hear Him when He spoke of His jealousy because they built the calf shortly thereafter.

     Notice that the LORD's name is not love (or mercy, grace, patience and/or goodness) but Jealous & Holy. (Isa. 57:15.) But certainly, the character of God is love. (1 Jn. 4:6, 8.) In fact, God so loved that He, in the form of Jesus Christ, died for the ungodly. (Isa. 53.) But significantly, no place in Scripture does God give His name as love, i.e., My Name is Love. Obviously then, God's love must be viewed in terms of His name, Jealous & Holy; His love provided the means of upholding His name, Jealous & Holy. Furthermore, His name, Jealousy, speaks of the marriage relationship.

     TOWT comments on jealousy:

The central meaning of our word, however, relates to "jealousy" especially in the marriage relationship. Adultery was punishable by death (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22). By marriage the "two become one flesh" (Gen 2:24). Hence, adultery was a severing of the body - a form of murder. Because woman usurped man's position in Eden the law was constructed to emphasize her subjection and man's leadership (Gen 3:16). Hence, provision was made for a husband to accuse and discover suspected adultery (Nu 5). Nor should it be overlooked that this was also a means whereby an accused but innocent woman could escape the accusation and wrath of a jealous husband inasmuch as God himself would pronounce her guiltless. The law provides a fit end for justified jealousy, the death of the offender.
God is depicted as Israel's husband; he is a jealous God (Ex 20:5) Idolatry is spiritual adultery and merits death. Phinehas played the faithful lover by killing a man and his foreign wife, and thus stayed the wrath of divine jealousy (Nu 25:11). Joshua repeated the fact that God is a jealous God who would not tolerate idolatry and the people voluntarily placed themselves under God's suzerainty (Josh 24:19). Through idolatry Israel incited God to justified wrath, e.g. in the days of Ahab, and God punished them. Ultimately, repeated warnings went unheeded and God gave his people the justice due their spiritual adultery (Ez 5:13; 8:3, 5; 16:38). The Psalmist identified the jealousy of God as the cause of the exile and he besought his Sovereign to quench his wrath against Israel (Ps 79:5). According to promises God rested his jealous wrath against Israel (Ez 16:42; cf. Deut 30) and turned against those who had misused them (Ez 36:5-6). So strong is his disposition to vindicate his name (Ez 39:25) and his people, that all the earth felt his wrath (Zep 3:8). Thus it will be seen that the action informed by this intensity may result in ill and perdition and is associated with words denoting wrath (Nu 25:11; Ez 16:38, 42, 36:6; 38:9) and anger (Deu 29:19 [H 20]), and as a consuming force with fire (Zep 1:18; 3:8).
On the other hand the divine action accomplished with "jealousy" may result in good and salvation...
God expects man to return his love. Love, however, is not simply an emotion. It is a structured relationship. To love God is to obey him. So the word [love] is used to denote a passionate, consuming "zeal" focused on God that results in the doing of his will and the maintaining of his honor in the face of the ungodly acts of men and nations. E.g. Phinehas, Elijah & Jehu. (TWOT, 802.)
God's love and jealousy cannot be divided asunder. Biblically, God's love can only exist in His "structured relationship" of justice & holiness, for His name is Jealous & Holy. In other words, God's name is Jealous & Holy, and, therefore, His love cannot override either. Thus when the "relationship" was violated and His name (Holy) dishonored, the Lord, even in His jealous zeal, followed His structure. After many repeated warnings, God, using Assyria, Babylon and Rome, followed Biblical structure when Israel departed from her rightful Husband, Jehovah God.


     Godly jealousy: A) can only exist in a proper "structured relationship," e.g., a man can not be jealous over another man's wife. Hence, the Lord is jealous over His church; B) "the law provides a fit end for justified jealousy, the death of the offender." Therefore, as the "Husband" of His bride (the church), when it places other things before Him, His zeal against them is fully justified — they have committed adultery; C) God's character is in His name, Jealous/Holy, and love is part of His character. Accordingly, God's jealous, holy zeal cannot be separated from His love. Jealousy and Holiness demand that sin be punished. Love (free grace) provides the only acceptable Substitute for the penitent sinner, and provides the power to live free from sin's power; D) love for God is expressed in zeal to honour His name (Holy) and obeys His will, and E) God's jealousy over His people protects them from their enemies, only allowing beneficial circumstances to come upon them and assures them of His conquering power. (Rom 8.)

     The revelation of the LORD's name, Jealous, is contained in the "ban," Exodus 34:11-17. The Lord's revelation of His name, Jealous, is the foundation for His ban against the false gods; they presented a prospective dangerous and adulterous situations for Israel against her legitimate Husband, Jehovah God. Thus the jealousy and holiness of God required: separation from the pagans and their evil ways; no agreement, or covenant, with the surrounding pagans (Ezra and Nehemiah contended with Israel's intermarriage with those forbidden to them); no worshiping or serving the false gods; the destruction of all representations of false gods, and no worshiping or serving Jehovah God after the manner of pagan worship, i.e., no graven images.

     The God Whose name is Jealous and Holy was/is a consuming fire against all opposition to His kingdom. Men's attitude toward God's kingdom and people determines His attitude toward men. The Lord's casting out the Canaanites was conditioned upon His people's faithfulness to Himself, following His word.

God's jealous zeal revealed

     For the LORD thy God [is] a consuming fire, [even] a jealous God. His consuming fire burns against His people who forget the covenant of the Lord their God. (Deut. 4:23, 24. Heb. 12:29.) They have His name, Holy; therefore, forsaking their responsibility to the Lord results in His jealousy consuming them.

Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God [is] he which goeth over before thee; [as] a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee. (Deut. 9:3.) His consuming fire burns against all who are against His kingdom, and he shall bring them down. (Isa. 33:13ff; 2 Thes 1:6-9 — the context probably spoke of 70 AD, but the substance is that the Lord will, in His good time, recompense tribulation to them that trouble His faithful people, Isa. 41:10-15; Rom. 8:31, 37). Hence, the Lord promises to cast down all who oppose His kingdom. (Exo 34:11.) The Lord is Owner and King of the whole earth, and He gives kingdoms to some and removes from another according to His sovereign will and good pleasure.

     (Significantly, Israel's goodness was not the cause for the Lord subduing the Canaanite kingdoms; Israel was a stiffnecked people, Deut. 9:6 &c. Obviously then, He does not subdue the wicked to His people today for any good on their part, but for His own glory. Cf. Deut. 20:4;31:3-6. He does, however, reward righteous living.)

     The NT & God's jealousy

     First, Paul refers to the giving of the law at the foot of the mount, and thus brings forward God's warning to His Old Testament nation, Israel, to His New Testament nation, the Israel of God, church. (Cf. Exo. 20 & Heb. 10 & 12.) While he emphasized that the Old Testament sacrifical laws were done away with in Christ, Paul makes it clear that the judgment and fiery indignation, which devour[s] the adversaries (those who despise Moses' law) were not done away with. (Heb. 10:26- 31.)

     Second, the substance of God's law given to Moses (separation from the unbeliever, Exo. 34:15-17) is clearly applied to the New Testament people of God by Paul. (2 Cor. 6:14ff.) The jealousy of God waxed hot against His Old Testament nation, so obviously, it will wax hot against His New Testament nation.

     Third, For our God [is] a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:29.) Repeatedly and conclusively, Paul serves notice that the God who changes not has not changed; He name is still Jealous and Holy. His standard is still the same as it was for His people at the foot of the mount: the Commandments. Notice the close parallel between Hebrews 12 and the giving of the law both to the people (Exo. 20) and to Moses (Exo. 34).

     Fourth, the church has been espoused to Christ. (2 Cor. 11:2.) The same jealous zeal of the Lord against spiritual adultery in the Old Testament will be exhibited against spiritual adultery in the New. Jehovah's (Jesus') New Testament bride, the church, must also follow Biblical structure, or she will receive the chastisement called for within the marriage relationship, for His name is Jealous & Holy. (Heb. 10, 12.)



     His name (thus, His character) is forever Jealous & Holy ; therefore,

1) God is love, but His love operates within the essence of His name, never in violation. His name is Thrise Holy & Jealous.

2) Any covenant with the unsaved, whoring after the false gods with the surrounding pagans, intermarriage with the unsaved (as someone said, "There is no missionary dating or marrying") and/or service to the surrounding false gods, still has God's wrath against it. He has not changed His name; it is still Jealous and Holy. How can we bless, condone or unite with what God has cursed? Moreover, how can the church make peace with those whom God wars against?

3) We must work at separation, for the Lord told Moses, Take heed to thyself, 34:12. Separation does not come natural; the road to sin and compromise is downhill.

4) We indeed live in an adulterous generation where God's people flock after the gods of this world, trying to serve both the pagan's gods and the Lord God.

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? (1 Cor 10:21, 22. )

Pastor Ovid Need

Why Homeschooling is Important For America

By Samuel L. Blumenfeld

     We Americans are a very special breed. Something in our psyche, in our culture, has set us apart from other nations. In fact, people in other countries cannot understand why so many Americans have such a deep distrust of civil government. But when these foreigners arrive in this country as immigrants and expect to find themselves in the land of the free and the home of the brave, they find themselves in the land of bureaucratic regulation and educational confusion.

     They settle in cities where the crime rate is much higher than in the countries they left behind. Yet, few return to their countries of origin because they detect something in America that is different and not to be found anywhere else: a deep sense of hope about the future, an indefatigable entrepreneurial spirit, boundless energy, the religious fervor of millions of individuals who are trying indeed to restore America to what it once was: a nation under God, a land of unlimited opportunity and limited, unobtrusive government bound by a Constitution based on Biblical principles. Ayn Rand, the novelist, put it in these words:

The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of America was the subordination of society to moral law.

That moral law, of course, was Biblical law. Early visitors to America remarked on that aspect of the American way of life.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the French historian who visited America in the 1830s, wrote:

Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this state of things....

In the United States the sovereign authority is religious,... there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.

Christianity, therefore reigns without obstacle, by universal consent; the consequence is, as I have before observed, that every principle of the moral world is fixed and determinate....

The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

How far we have come from that benevolent state in which Biblical law set the moral standards of American society! Today, what we have in America is the subordination of society to bureaucratic law, the law of the state. Yes, these laws were enacted by the legislators we elected. But too many of these legislators no longer believe in the primacy of Biblical law. They believe that man's law is superior to God's law. That philosophy is humanism, and that's the philosophical foundation of liberalism.

     Liberalism goes under many guises: progressivism, socialism, collectivism. No matter what it is called, its most significant principle is its rejection of God as the true sovereign over our nation. And, of course, this has serious consequences for the family and for education.


     Humanism is an organized religious-philosophical movement dedicated to the overthrow of Christianity. The humanists declared war on Christianity in 1933 with the proclamation of its Humanist Manifesto which states:

Religious humanism maintains that all associations and institutions exist for the fulfillment of human life. The intelligent evaluation, transformation, control, and direction of such associations and institutions with a view to the enhancement of human life is the purpose and program of humanism. Certainly religious institutions, their ritualistic forms, ecclesiastical methods, and communal activities must be reconstituted as rapidly as experience allows, in order to function effectively in the modern world.

In other words, the humanist program calls for taking control and transforming all of the cultural and religious institutions and associations of the nation so that they will be made to effectively advance the humanist agenda. No other religion in America calls for taking over the institutions and associations of other religions. We are supposed to be living in a society where religious freedom is respected by all religions. But we have it in the words of the Humanist Manifesto itself the intention of humanists to reconstitute everybody else's religious institutions, rituals, and ecclesiastical practices to conform with humanist goals.


Nowhere has the philosophical conflict between humanism and Christianity been better explained than in Dr. Rousas J. Rushdoony's classic book, The Messianic Character of American Education, for it is in the field of education that the conflict has raged most intensely. It should be noted that one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto of 1933 was John Dewey, father of progressive education.

     Rushdoony argues that humanism not only threatens Christian education but educational freedom in general, because there is a link between religious liberty and educational freedom. Americans are slowly becoming aware that spiritually and morally, education is basically a religious function, even when it is atheistic, and Christian education is hardly viable without religious freedom. Rushdoony writes:

Among Nietzsche's manuscripts, after his death, was found a slip of paper on which he had written these words: "Since the old God has been abolished, I am prepared to rule the world." This is the meaning of humanism's inescapable totalitarianism. Total government is a necessity, and everything in man requires it. If there is no god to provide it, then man must supply it.... In the United States, the efforts of federal and state governments to control churches and Christian Schools are the logical results of their humanism. There must be sovereignty and law, and it must be man's, not God's, is their faith. Clearly, we are in the basic religious war, and there can be no compromise nor negotiation in this war. Humanism seeks to abolish the God of Scripture and rule the world.

     In America, the ultimate aims of humanism can be achieved only through the control of children and their education. The fundamental issue, therefore, is the ownership of children. Do humanists have the right to indoctrinate children in the public schools with humanist values without the knowledge or consent of the parents? On this issue, Rushdoony writes:

The first and basic premise of paganism, socialism, and Molech worship is the claim that the state owns the child. The basic premise of the public schools is this claim of ownership, a fact some parents are encountering in the courts. It is the essence of paganism to claim first the lives of the children, then the properties of the people.

     There are many cases in which compulsory school attendance laws have been used to deprive parents of their children. The most egregious case I know of is that of 18 year-old Barry Bear, a Native American, who has spent the last five years in state custody in Iowa because of truancy. Barry's mother, Anna Bear, is a white woman married to a Native America with whom she has had four sons and a daughter. The family lives on a reservation near Tama. Barry is mildly retarded and has what the public schools like to call "special needs." But like many retarded children, Barry suffers from a variety of ailments, mainly gastro-intestinal. And so, when it came to attending school, Barry was absent a great deal. However, that should not have bothered the school, since Anna Bear taught school for twenty years, was certified, and could teach Barry at home.

     However, in May 1989 the Iowa Supreme Court ordered that Barry, then 12, be forced to attend school. His parents refused. And so in 1991, after a long court battle, Barry was removed from his home and placed in foster care. Barry has now been in state custody for five years. He's been in four or five foster homes, four or five public schools in which he's learned how to tie his shoelaces but not much else. He is presently at a residential hospital where he is being drugged and has become addicted. This mild, gentle boy has become a violent young adult who wants to go home and be with his parents and brothers and sisters, but the state will not let him go home. He is now their prisoner, and even though he has reached the age of 18 and is beyond compulsory school age, the court refuses to release him. Why? Because they own him, and they want every homeschooler in Iowa to know that they own him and every other child they can get their clutches on.

     And we know why. The Des Moines Register of January 12, 1989 carried the following small item under the heading of "Statehouse Briefing":

Iowa prosecutors are seeking more power to intervene in truancy cases and have suggested law changes that could give county attorneys more tools to use against fundamentalist Christians who want to teach their children at home. Recommendations from the Iowa County Attorneys' Association include a change in the state's juvenile code to add truancy to the list of reasons officials can start proceedings that can lead to removing the child from the home or to terminating the parents' rights to their child.

     Thus the humanist state can legally kidnap any child it wants through the compulsory education laws, and keep that child prisoner for as long as it wants: which means that the issue of Christian liberty can only be resolved in a philosophical confrontation between Christians and the state. I say philosophical confrontation, not a physical one, since the government has shown little restraint in its handling of citizens who disagree with its laws. (The ATF called out the U.S. Army with tanks and helicopters and 70 armed agents just to serve the hapless David Koresh with a search warrant for what?—a technical gun violation which would have gotten Koresh maybe 3 months in jail if found guilty.) This means that you don't physically confront a government run by power-crazed bureaucrats and agents if you want to survive. (Randy Weaver found that out when his son and wife were killed over an arms technicality.) As long as this civil war can be fought in the courts and in the polling booths and by the legal actions of its citizens, there is no reason for physical confrontation.


     Our goal must be the recognition of God's sovereignty over this nation. The principle of God's ownership was implicitly understood by the Founding Fathers who wrote the U.S Constitution and upheld God's sovereignty over man. George Washington, in his inaugural address in 1789 as first President of the United States under the new Constitution, said:

Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations and whose providential aids can supply every human defect;...

No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency....

We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps finally, staked on the experiment.

     Thus, it was clearly understood at the very birth of the American republic that God's sovereignty ruled over the United States and that as long as the civil government remained subordinate to God's sovereignty, it was legitimate and thereby supportable by Christians.

     But the introduction of secular, government-owned and -controlled schools and colleges began to erode that basic understanding in the minds of the American people. Statism, the philosophy that the state is the supreme power, slowly absorbed the loyalty of America's academic elite.

Religious Toleration

     Slowly but surely the concept of religious freedom gave way to that of religious toleration. The original concept of religious freedom meant that the state had no jurisdiction over the church, its schools, or its affairs. But the new doctrine of religious toleration meant that the state granted certain privileges to churches and religious schools at its own pleasure, privileges, such as tax exemption, which could be withdrawn at any time for some "compelling state interest." Rushdoony writes:

The fact is that religious liberty is dead and buried; it needs to be resurrected. We cannot begin to cope with our present crisis until we recognize that religious liberty has been replaced with religious toleration....

We may be able to live under religious toleration, but it will beget all the ancient evils of compromise, hypocrisy, and a purely or largely public religion. It will replace conscience with a state license, and freedom with a state-endowed cell of narrow limits. This is the best that toleration may afford us in the days ahead.

This basic philosophy of statism and religious toleration has important ramifications for the Christian family. Rushdoony writes:

     In Scripture, the family is the basic institution of society, to whom all the most basic powers are given, save one: the death penalty. (Hence, the death penalty could not be executed on Cain.) The family is man's basic government, his best school, and his best church....

     To review briefly the basic powers which Scripture gives to the family, the first is the control of children. The control of children is the control of the future. This power belongs neither to church nor state, nor to the school, but only to the family....

     Second, power over property is given in Scripture to the family.... God gives control of property into the hands of the family, not the state, nor the individual....

     Third, inheritance in Scripture is exclusively a family power, governed by God's law....

     Fourth, welfare is the responsibility of the family, beginning with the care of its own.

     Fifth, education, a basic power, is given by God to the family as its power and responsibility. The modern state claims the right to control and provide education, and it challenges the powers of the family in this area also....

     Humanistic statism sees control of the child and the family as basic to its drive towards totalitarianism.

Home Schooling

     In light of all of this, it is obvious now why the homeschooling movement is so important to America during this time of cultural civil war. The means to restore Christian liberty and Constitutional government are limited by the very circumstances of the battlefield. The battlefields of this civil war are to be found in the court houses, the legislatures, the media, and most important of all, in the actions that citizens can take to further the cause of freedom and godly government.

     One of the most important actions families can take is to remove their children from the government schools and home-school them. By now about a million families have made that choice, and their actions have had a cumulative effect on American life that is only now beginning to be felt.

     While the government asserts implicitly in court decisions here and there that it owns the children, it cannot say so explicitly to the public at large for fear of provoking a violent reaction. Thus school districts subtly assert the state-ownership principle by requiring parents to request permission to home-school and requiring home-schooled children to be tested. Some school districts require more and some less, depending on the disposition of the superintendent. But in some districts, where humanist superintendents refuse to acknowledge parents' rights and impose onerous conditions for home-schooling, parents have had to fight in court to defend their God-given right to educate their children as they see fit.

     Despite the obstacles involved, the withdrawal of children from the humanist state system is significant because it means that those children will be free from statist, humanist, indoctrination. It means that Christian family will be free to raise their children in a godly way, in a way that conforms to the principles and values of the Founding Fathers. These are the children who will mold America's future and restore God's sovereignty over our government.

     What is also important is what the home-school movement is doing for the Christian family. Home-schoolers are rediscovering the benefits, joys and blessings of family life. For it is in the family that love for one another and love of God is nurtured. The very act of educating one's children is a godly act called for in Deuteronomy. And therefore, it brings the Christian family in obedience to God's law and reestablishes the family as a unit governed under God, equal to the civil government. American civil government was never meant to usurp, replace or negate family government.


     Family Government

     The civil government must respect family government, for they both derive their legitimacy from the same divine source. But today's civil government has done all in its power to make the family totally subordinate to the state by taking control of the children through compulsory attendance laws and using state social agencies to undermine the integrity of the family.

     It is true that "dysfunctional families" pose a problem for American society. But in the past it was the church or private agencies that dealt with such problems. Today, when the state takes control of a family, it plays the role of God. Social workers place children in foster homes that sometimes turn out to be worse than the homes they were taken from. And, of course, drug addiction and unwed teenage motherhood have exacerbated the dysfunctional family problem. Detached from God, these people become the victims of their own innate depravity.

     But we should not lose our freedoms, and parents should not lose their rights simply because a portion of the population acts self-destructively. We cannot expect the drug addicts and unwed teenage mothers on welfare to save our country. Nor should we let them prevent us from doing what has to be done to restore America as a nation under God.

On the Front Line

     Thus the home-school family is on the front line of this civil war, and we can only win this long, protracted struggle one family at a time. The quiet revolution is taking place right under the very noses of the humanists and there isn't much they can do about it.

     Meanwhile, the home-schooling family is creating a revolution in American family life. The Christian family that lives in obedience to God sets a standard of morality that will stay with their children for the rest of their lives. That even some home-schooled children may go astray is inevitable, knowing what we do about human nature. But the vast majority are becoming the kind of citizens we can all be proud of.


     Benefits of Home Schooling

     The reconstruction of the American family is one of the great benefits of the home-school movement. The homeschooling family creates a generation bridge instead of a generation gap. Parents can pass on to their children their spiritual and moral values, thereby creating family continuity unto many generations.

     Home-schooled children learn to respect their parents' intelligence, and the parents, who know their children better than any stranger could, enjoy teaching their children. One of the greatest pleasures of parenthood must be the act of instructing one's own children in all that is good and valuable, showing them what a wonderful world they were born in, what a wonderful God we have that has given us life and inspired our Founding Fathers to create a country of such great freedom. What a joy it is to introduce a child to the Word of God, or to poetry and great literature, or great music and art, or the wonders of nature, or to playful puppies and kittens, or to horseback riding, swimming, ice-skating, and heaven knows what else.

     It is also well documented that home-schoolers learn better than public schoolers. Wherever home-schoolers have taken standardized achievement tests, they've come out ahead of the public schoolers. Why? Because the home is a better place to learn than a school. One-on-one teaching is more effective than the classroom. Also, at home the pre-schoolers learn from their older siblings. They can't help but learn because they hear it and see it all around them.

     And what is even more interesting is that homeschooling parents learn more than their children. Quite an unexpected phenomenon. Many parents don't realize that when they begin teaching their children math or grammar or history or a foreign language they are also learning these subjects. In fact, because home-schooling parents generally use phonics to teach their children to read, they improve their own reading skills by learning the phonics they didn't have when they were in school. Most of today's young home-schooling parents were taught to read by the Dick-and-Jane look-say method and were deprived of the kind of intensive phonics necessary to become a good reader. Thus, learning phonics through teaching it to their children has been enormously beneficial.

     Another important benefit of home-schooling is that the home is a safe haven for the children in a world awash with drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, violence, and moral corruption. Children need all the protection they can get. If you want a child to get involved with drugs, send him or her to a public school, the principle marketplace for drugs in America. That's where peer pressure is used to hook a child. If you want your child to become suicidal, just give him a good dose of death education. If you want your child to become sexually active, just give him or her explicit sex education beginning in kindergarten with instructions on how to use a condom. If you want your child to lose his religious faith, just subject him to endless lessons about evolution and critical thinking—which means criticizing your folks and your religion. If you want your child to start putting rings through his nose, and safety pins in his eyebrows or navel, send him to a public school where his peers will persuade him of the beauties of self-mutilation.

     Home-schooling provides healthful socialization, not the negative kind you get in the public school. In homeschooling, brothers and sisters get to know one another very well and they become lifelong friends. In the public school, brothers and sisters go their separate ways, bonding with their own clique of friends, engaging in mischievous behavior, drinking, smoking, dating, getting high, listening to acid rock or heavy metal music, having sex.

     Home-schooled kids get to know other home-schooled kids. Their Christian code of morals determines their behavior. They believe in courtship, not dating. They are future-oriented, planning to have long, healthful, productive lives. Public school teenagers live for the moment, the thrill, the party. Otherwise, they are bored, hanging out at malls or parking lots, killing time before going home to surly parents. "Where'd you go?" their parents ask. "Nowhere," is the usual response. "What did'ya do?"

     "Nothing. "

     But perhaps the greatest dividend that home-schoolers enjoy is the ownership of their own time. Time is one of the most precious commodities a family has, and the more time a family can devote to its own improvement and enjoyment the better it is for all of its members. Public schools squander the best time in a family's life. They rob the family of the time that could be spent together, learning, playing, and creating. The state wants that time in order to do its work of indoctrination. But that time belongs to the family.

     Another development among home-schoolers is their political awakening. They know that they must get more God-fearing men into the Congress and state legislatures if home-schooling is to survive the coming onslaught from educational statists. Home-schoolers made quite a difference in the elections of November 1994. And they must become politically active and stay politically active for the statists would like nothing better than to get politicians in power who will enact laws making homeschooling illegal.

     I think I've made the case that home-schoolers are very important to America's future, more important than many of them realize. They are the true revolutionaries doing God's work, one family at a time. Our humanist education system is like a big hourglass. Each grain of sand is a child, and every second of that hour several grains of sand fall through the tiny hole separating the top from the bottom. Eventually the top will be empty. How long it will take, no one knows. But the day may come when the public schools will be virtually empty not because we have abolished public education but because the parents for the most part will have abandoned them. Yes, there will be those who will send their children to government schools out of ignorance, or indifference, or a misguided loyalty to an institution that no longer works. But the taxpayers may decide that keeping the public schools open for that diminished group is uneconomical and decide to provide the remaining families with tuition to attend private schools. Who knows. we may yet see such a day in the not-too-distant future!

(Chalcedon Report, 1996. Used by permission.)

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