Pagan Kingship vs. Divine Viewpoint Kingship
1 Samuel 8
1st & 2nd Samuel Lesson #035
December 1, 2015
“Father, we come here tonight because we know we need Your Word. We know that You have revealed Yourself to us. You have revealed to us in Your Word who we are, who You are, and what You expect of us, and what You have provided for us. There is no way in which we can save ourselves, but You in Your mercy and grace have provided a perfect and complete salvation for us that we might have eternal life simply by trusting in Christ as our Savior.
“Father, we rejoice this evening about this little boy and his clear expression of his trust in You. We pray that You might watch over him, protect him, that as he goes to a home that is not sympathetic to this, that this might be a real witness to them—that through him his parents might come to a clear understanding of the gospel.
“Father, we pray for others in the Good News Club and for their understanding of the gospel, that this could have a real impact on that school and in this community. Father, we pray for us as we study Your Word, that You will help us to understand what we are studying, reading, and how this impacts our understanding of Your Word and our world as well, especially in issues related to government. We pray these things in Christ’s name. Amen.”
I want to start off with just a brief of review of where we are in 1 Samuel.
We are still in 1 Samuel 8. I have done a lot of background to 1 Samuel 8, to understanding this because it is a pivotal chapter. It is pivotal not only because it emphasizes certain doctrinal truths about government and politics, but it is also pivotal in the shift that is taking place in the history of Israel.
In this chapter, because they want to have a king like all the other nations, what we see is the contrast between the pagan, or the human viewpoint, idea of kingship and government, and the role of government in a nation vs. the divine viewpoint of kingship.
The emphasis in the chapter is not as much on the divine viewpoint. But that is what the challenge is, because Israel has rejected God and rejected God’s government over the nation in choosing a human viewpoint form of government.
We have seen this chart I put together:
- 1 Samuel 1–7 focuses on Samuel as the prophet, priest and judge of Israel.
- 1 Samuel 8–15 describes the rise of Saul until his active disobedience towards God.
- Then we see his decline as we see God preparing the next king, King David, who does not become king until we get into 2 Samuel 1.
The three basic divisions in 1 Samuel:
- 1 Samuel 1–7, God prepares to deliver the nation of Israel by grace.
- 1 Samuel 8–15, God establishes the office of king. God is really doing it to teach Israel something about their deficiency: the king that they receive is the king that fits what they want.
- 1 Samuel 16–2 Samuel 1, God decreases the influence of Saul as He is increasing and preparing David to be a ruler—because David is a man after God’s own heart.
In 1 Samuel 8:
- 1 Samuel 8:1-3 – The setting: The people come together. The elders come together. They reject this hierarchical approach Samuel passing on the judgeship to his sons, because they have become corrupt.
This is a basic problem in all human government. Human government itself, as we have seen, was established and instituted by God in the Noahic Covenant. But human beings are corrupt, so government is no better than the integrity of those who are governing.
- 1 Samuel 8:4–5 – The elders meet with Samuel at Ramah and request to have a king like all the other nations.
- 1 Samuel 8:6–9 – Samuel takes it personally. He takes it to God in prayer. God tells him that it is God Himself who is being rejected. He tells Samuel to warn the people of the consequences.
- 1 Samuel 8:10–18 – Samuel informs the people. He outlines what the consequences are going to be in terms of increased oppression by the king through taxation. This is one of the first clear passages that we have related to the relation of money to power and government in the Scriptures.
- 1 Samuel 8:19–20 – The people continue to reject the warning. They want to have a king like everybody else.
- 1 Samuel 8:21–22 – The Lord then tells Samuel to obey their voice.
We saw that human government was established in the Noahic Covenant in Genesis 9:5–7. The mandate to punish those who commit murder is perhaps the most serious and sober responsibility given to mankind, and has embedded within it the recognition that man has the right to adjudicate in all other areas of criminality.
I have points that I want to bring out before we get into the text itself as a reminder. I have seven points that we ought to think through:
- The divine institution of government was established by God, and as such, government is inherently good.
The reason I make a point out of that is because in some circles of political theory, especially among some libertarians, they talk as if government itself is bad. But the Scripture says that government is good.
It is those who are in the position of governing that are corrupt. The divine institution is established by God and has God’s authority.
In the New Testament, this is laid out more fully in Romans 13. Both the Old and New Testaments agree that God instituted government, and that those in authority are established by God.
- In the Old Testament God’s ideal form of government is represented in the Mosaic Law.
The Mosaic Law is not given as a pattern that should be duplicated by other countries. It is unique to Israel because they were a distinct people to God. They are called a holy people, which mean one of a kind, distinct, a set apart nation. They were to be a kingdom of priests.
The Mosaic Law is one form of government based upon what Scripture teaches about the nature of man. As such, it is not a blueprint or template for every other kind of law, but is a pattern that embodies certain principles that can be used in the development for the form of government in any other nation.
As an example, you have various criminal penalties for certain crimes. In the New Testament, those penalties are not passed on.
For example: adultery was a crime punishable by death under the Mosaic Law. In the New Testament, Jesus does not reaffirm that. It is not restated in the New Testament for a couple of reasons.
In the Church Age:
- We are no longer part of a national entity. We are not equated to a national entity.
- We are a separate group that is multinational, multi-ethnic, spread out across the world.
- We are not about implementing a specific form of government.
The punishment for someone caught in adultery is not going to be a capital crime the same as some other areas of sin.
As another example, under the Mosaic Law, a rebellious adolescent was to be presented by his parents. Evidence of his rebelliousness was to be given by his parents. And then he was to be taken out into the public square and be stoned.
These kinds of penalties (capital punishment for adultery, capital punishment for a rebellious adolescent), have a purpose behind them.
They are not just an example of this hostile, righteous, overbearing deity in the Old Testament that somehow wakes up and gets modified by the New Testament.
Rather, God is showing that you have to protect the family. You have to protect marriage. And by emphasizing the horrendous nature of these violations of marriage and family, you protect the national entity.
In the New Testament, rebellion against one’s parents is still wrong. Adultery is still a sin—it is still wrong. But the penalty is not the same. This shows that the Mosaic Law itself is a manifestation of one way to implement these divine absolutes.
I remember in my first church, assuming that people had been well taught because of who the previous pastors were, I got in trouble within the first month or two of being there by making the point that the Ten Commandments was no longer relevant, or no longer to be applied. Some people got their knickers in a knot because of that.
I had to go back and teach that it was not the Mosaic Law that made robbery, thievery, or theft wrong. It was not the Mosaic Law that made murder wrong. Those were sins long before the Mosaic Law.
The Mosaic Law was simply a law code that instantiated the penalties for those particular acts within the framework of national government.
The Mosaic Law gives us an idea of how a government is to function that emphasizes freedom and individual responsibility under the guidance of God.
As I have pointed out with reference to the study of Dr. Donald Lutz, over the last previous lessons, this type government was clearly understood by the Founding Fathers of this nation. They were not trying to establish a theocracy.
Many people misunderstand and do not define theocracy accurately. Theocracy is the direct rule of a nation by a god, either directly or through prophets or priests.
Iran today is a theocracy. But Christian nations, since the Reformation, have not been tied, where religion was tied to the state.
The Founding Fathers, who all operated within the framework of biblical Christianity, were not seeking to establish a theocracy because the only revelation they had from God was the Bible. There is no direct guidance from God. It is not a rule of prophets or priests. It was a rule by a people, over people, on the principles of the Bible.
The Mosaic Law must be understood as giving us certain ideas, concepts, and patterns that can be implemented in different cultures, different nations around the world, in terms of forming a government recognizing the legitimacy of the five divine institutions.
- All forms of human government manifest the corruption of sin, because those who govern are inherently corrupt. They are sinners.
There needs to be checks and balances. You cannot give too much authority to any one individual. Otherwise he will take all authority for himself. This is why we have checks and balances built into the Constitution, and why they have been consistently attacked over the last 226 years.
- What we learn from a panorama of Scripture is that there is only one time that we have perfect government. That is when we have a perfect Ruler.
The ultimate perfect government in a perfect environment is that which is established by the Lord Jesus Christ at the Second Coming, when as the Messianic Son of David, He rules from the throne of David in Jerusalem, and we have the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom.
We have a perfect, sinless Ruler. He is going to rule in a perfect, sinless environment. He is going to rule according to a perfect, sinless code of government.
But guess what happens?
What happens is that at the end of 1,000 years, Satan is going to be released and deceive millions and millions of people. They are going to follow Satan in a rebellion against God, because the inherent problem is not just the fact that we have corrupt rulers, but that we have corrupt people.
If you remember the old Walt Kelly cartoon strip called Pogo, you have Pogo making the statement that “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We are the problem.
We live in a nation that does not recognize the reality of total depravity, the doctrine that all men are created sinners. They are corrupt. They are fallen. That does not mean that they are as bad as they can be. It means that every aspect of their being has been corrupted by sin.
They can still do relatively good things, but unless there are incentives and punishments to keep them in line, they will always default towards corruption, degeneracy, greed, and criminality. The only time we have perfect government is when there is a perfect king.
In the Mosaic Law, the ideal government is where God rules through His representatives. There is direct communication via the prophets and the priests.
But the failure of the people to obey shows that the problem is not in government per se. It is in sinful people, whether they are governing or whether they are the governed.
- We have seen that the book of Judges demonstrates that when the leadership or the people become corrupted by human viewpoint, the result is rejection of God’s law and failure to obey.
This is the section that deals with the judges from Othniel to Samuel.
We see that in some of the episodes at the end, in relation to the corruption of the tribe of Benjamin, when the people become corrupt or the priesthood becomes corrupt, they reject the authority of God.
That is the episode in Judges 18 where you have the Levitical priest who sets up an idol. It turns out he is the grandson of Moses.
When the people, the priesthood, and the leaders reject the authority of God, remember the key verse in Judges “… there was no God in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”
When Israel rejects the authority of God, the culture crumbles, and chaos results:
- Economic chaos
- Personal suffering
- Personal chaos
The breakdown of all of the basic functions of government in terms of providing:
All the functions of government fall apart when you go into moral relativism. Everything always goes back to a spiritual condition.
- Historically, the human counter to the position of no central authority (which is what we have in Judges where there is no central authority), is the only judge who is said to judge all of Israel is Samuel. For all that period, you had regional or tribal authority in terms of the judges.
But the human counter to the position of no central authority, or the position of divine authority, is the authority of the state.
- You have one position that says there is no central human authority. Everything is more like a confederacy.
- The other position is that the ultimate authority is God.
If you reject those two positions, the only thing left is to invest full authority into the state. That is called, in modern terms, totalitarianism.
It is sometimes called statism, but it is the opposite of a government that allows for individual responsibility and freedom.
The principle that we find from Scripture is that without individual responsibility, there is no freedom. You have to give people the freedom to both succeed and to fail.
- When the central government comes in and tries to protect them from the consequences of their sinful decisions, irresponsibility, and their failures, then they also have to protect people or prevent people from having freedom to succeed, because to limit freedom to fail means you are limiting freedom.
- When you limit freedom, you are limiting both the freedom to fail and the freedom to succeed because you cannot make a decision ahead of time as to which will do which.
This leads inevitably to reducing everyone in the society to the lowest common denominator, where the government controls everything from cradle to grave, from womb to tomb, in order to protect people from their own irresponsibility and their own sin.
At the core of that, there is a failure to recognize the reality of sin and the reality of corruption. And when we get into any kind of political theory that moves in that direction, this inevitably leads to an idolatry of the state.
This is exactly what we see outlined in 1 Samuel 8—attributing to the state the power and responsibilities that are to go only to God.
This is seen today. We have seen this historically in totalitarian states such as Germany, Italy, and Japan during WWII.
Japan was the most overt totalitarian government, where they had emperor worship. They deified the emperor. But they were deifying government in Italy and Germany as well. They did it under the communists in both Russia and later in China.
You have this kind of deification (or a form of it), with a theocracy under the radical Shia in Iran. It always destroys freedom. People become irrelevant to the goal of the state. The state becomes all consuming.
- Statism, according to Wikipedia, is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both to some degree.
- Statism is effectively the opposite of anarchism.
What did we have under the situation with the judges in the book of Judges? It is confederacy that deteriorates almost to the state of anarchy.
Everyone, priests, leaders, judges, people, everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. There was no authority whatsoever. It leads to a complete breakdown in the society.
The alternative to that is to go to the other extreme: to bring order out of chaos, you have to have a single powerful leader who can make all of the decisions.
We eventually see that happen in human history when we come to the end times when it is the Antichrist identified as the first beast who brings order out of chaos after the Rapture in the Tribulation period.
The term statism got its popularity from Ayn Rand. Her definition was this:
“The political expression of altruism is collectivism (that is another term for socialism) or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal or collective good.”
That is the deification of the state, where the state controls everything. That is what is warned against in 1 Samuel 8. We see that the divine institution of government is established, but we do not see a framework for that until we get to the Mosaic Law.
Let us review what happens here at the beginning of 1 Samuel 8:
In 1 Samuel 8:1–3, Samuel is old now. Time has passed since 1 Samuel 7. He is trying to set up an inheritance-based rulership, where his sons are going to be the next judges. But they are corrupt. They have these names:
- The name of Joel, Yoel, which means Yahu is God. El is the word for God. Yo or Yah is a reference to Yahweh. His name means “Yahweh is God.” That is certainly not true in his life.
- The second name, Abijah or Abiyah, yah is the first syllable in Yahweh, and Ab is the Hebrew word for father. The “I” is the first person suffix, so it means “my father is Yah.”
Both sons have been named by Samuel in the hopes that they will serve the Lord, but they are not serving the Lord. They are serving themselves. They have become corrupt. They are perverting justice. They do not know what justice is, because they have departed from the Lord Who, according to Scripture, is the only source of judgment.
They violated the commands in Exodus 18:21 and in Deuteronomy 16:19, because they have perverted justice. The role of government is to provide mishpat, or justice.
This is a map we have seen before. This was the circuit for Samuel that is mentioned at the end of 1 Samuel 7. Beersheba is all the way south, just as you start to enter the Negev. In my personal opinion, it looks like they got away from daddy’s control. Daddy could not watch over them anymore, so they are just doing their own thing, because it would take quite a while to ride a donkey or a mule and come down here.
In 1 Samuel 8:4–5 the people are rebelling against Samuel. The result is that the elders of Israel come together. They came to Samuel at Ramah and said, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
This is where we start getting into some real problems. I am going to list the mistaken assumptions that lie behind their approach:
- The elders of Israel are assuming that the problem is the form of government.
- The elders of Israel are assuming that if they just change the government that will solve their problems.
Let’s just review where government comes from. I have the divine institutions chart that we have used before.
The first three divine institutions are set up before the Fall:
- Individual responsibility. This is so important. It underlies everything else. Without personal responsibility and accountability, marriage will collapse, and family will collapse.
We are seeing that in an incredible way before our eyes right now with the things that are taking place on college campuses—this exposure to a generation where 30% of the college age students think that we need to do away with freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is ultimately a part of personal responsibility, having the freedom to say what is good or what is bad. To control people at that level is a direct attack on the first divine institution.
But when you are in arrogance, when you are hypersensitive, and when you are self-indulgent, then you cannot take it when somebody else disagrees with you. We have all been around people like that—when we begin to talk about something that does not fit their pagan framework, they react in tremendous anger and hostility because they cannot handle someone who disagrees with them or states a different view.
After the Fall, in fact, after the Flood, you have two more divine institutions established:
- Government, with the Noahic Covenant
- Nations, after the tower of Babel, with the division of languages
The first three Pre-Fall divine institutions were designed to promote productivity, happiness, and advance civilization.
The Post-Fall divine institutions of government and nations were designed to restrain evil.
Once you start breaking down national distinctions (that is exactly what we see happening with the open-border concept) and failing to secure the borders, you start opening up a nation. You destroy its integrity. You start opening up the nation to all kinds of chaos and internal collapse. That is exactly what we are seeing today.
Anybody who fails to protect the border fails to recognize that immigration is one of the top, if not the #1 problem facing this nation.
If we do not secure our borders, this nation will be destroyed in less than a generation. Anyone who does not understand that does not deserve to be in public service at all. Period.
Then you have the role of government and the understanding that biblically, government is service to the people. It is service to God and service to the people. It is not for self-aggrandizement. These are the divine institutions.
Recognition by our Founding Fathers was that the type of government they established with the Constitution was a type of government that could not function apart from the morality of the people.
See, the false assumption that is being made here is that the leaders of Israel, looking out at their nation to see it is still in the period of the judges, they have had a measure of stability under Samuel, a measure of success.
But they are still in a chaotic period. The people of Israel still have not completely turned to God. They have done a halfway approach. God has begun to bless them, but it is still in a state of chaos and collapse. The leaders of Israel still cannot identify the real problem because they individually have rejected the revelation of God in terms of total depravity. This is the basic problem.
If you want to know a simple way to define the difference between a liberal and a conservative, it is how they view the nature of man. Liberals have an altruistic, optimistic, unrealistic view of man, in that they view man as being basically good—that man can just be improved upon, and government is the best tool to do that. Their basic premise is that man is basically good.
Conservatives view man as being basically corrupt. He is basically evil. He is basically self-serving, and that needs to be controlled.
This is done through a righteous government. When a people are corrupt, and you do not recognize the reality of that corruption, then all you are going to do is fail, because when you have a false analysis, you are going to come up with false solutions.
Their false solution is that if we change the government, we will solve the problem. But the government essentially is a righteous God with a righteous law.
So by getting rid of the righteous demands of God and shifting to moral relativism, they are thinking they are going to solve all the problems. But in order for a nation to survive, you have to have morality with the people.
This is what was understood by our Founders:
- You have Noah Webster, who said, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
When you look at what they are saying, they are really talking about the Judeo-Christian system of ethics and absolutes that are grounded in the Old Testament.
As I pointed out through the Lutz study, the vast majority of the quotations that the Founding Fathers are going to in the Scripture are out of the Torah. They are out of the Old Testament.
- Noah Webster goes on to say, “Our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.”
Webster is not talking about the Republican Party. He is talking about the view that this nation is a representative democracy or a republic, that for a republic to survive, the people have to have individual responsibility, accountability, and morality.
Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, wrote in a letter to James McHenry on November 4, 1800, “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time …”
When we look out at our nation, it is not a moral nation. Without morals a nation will collapse.
“… they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure … are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free government.”
That is, those justices that we have serving on everything from local and municipalities, all the way up to the Supreme Court, who are taking morality out of the nation, are destroying the nation, because a nation without personal accountability, responsibility, and a set of absolutes that goes outside of themselves, will collapse very quickly.
John Adams recognized this. He said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions …”
That is the sin nature, folks. In other words, government does not have enough power to deal with the sin nature, the evil that lurks in the souls of men.
“… unbridled by morality and religion.”
It is the Christian faith that teaches morality, self-discipline, and self-control.
Adams says, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
George Washington said, “There is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness.”
We founded this country according to the Declaration of Independence for the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
Happiness, in their understanding, was not just personal pleasure. It was a rich fulfillment in life, which can only come from virtue. And without the development of virtue, you cannot pursue happiness or real fulfillment in life.
The New York Supreme Court in the late 19th century said, “The morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity … The people whose manners … and morals have been elevated and inspired … by means of the Christian religion.”
If you do not have Christianity or a Judeo-Christian ethic, then the system collapses.
The Florida Supreme Court recognized this as well stating that, “The Christian concept of right and wrong, or right and justice, motivates every rule of equity. It is the guide…”
That is the Christian concept of right or wrong, the biblical ethic.
“… is the guide by which we dissolve domestic frictions and the rule by which all legal controversies are settled.”
It is not Sharia law, folks. It is not the Koran. It is the Bible that is the source of freedom. And freedom goes with responsibilities in this country.
We can conclude from this that, “The people who rule a nation, reflect the values of the citizens of the nation. Therefore a nation’s character is reflected in the character of the rulers.”
To put that more briefly: We get the leaders we deserve.
We get the leaders that reflect the majority values of the nation. There are a lot of people I believe in this nation who do not go along with the values of the political elite. But they do not take the responsibility to be involved in the political process—at the very least, getting out to vote.
The percentage of alleged evangelical Christians that have not participated in the election, who have not voted in 2008 or 2012, is huge. It is like 30%. If Christians do not get involved in the culture, then it will be destroyed. It will self-implode.
So the first assumption that the leaders of Israel had was that a change in government would solve problems. The problem in government is the sin nature of the people.
2. The second thing they wanted in Israel was they wanted to have a king like all the other nations.
This is clearly seeking a lower standard than the one that God had given them. God wants them to be above all the nations. They are going to be a priestly kingdom over all the nations.
God is a God who is a one-of-a-kind God. They were to be God’s special possession, unlike any other nation. They are distinct. They are unique.
If we transfer that over to the New Testament, it is every believer that is unique because of our identification with Christ. We become royalty. We are part of the royal family of God. We are identified with Christ in an inseparable way. We are to live as spiritual royalty.
We are ambassadors from Heaven, but we have a dual citizenship. We have a citizenship in Heaven, but it does not replace our human citizenship or human responsibilities.
That is what Romans 13 is all about. We are to be involved in obedience to government. We are to pay taxes, even when we deem the taxes to be unjust. We are still to participate in the civil process of this world until the Lord takes us out of it.
When they said “we want to have a king like everybody else” we need to think about what that means—to be like all the other nations at that time.
In that time, what you have in the ancient world is basically the idea that the government, the state, is divine. We can call it divine kingship. It manifested itself a little differently in different cultures:
- In Egypt the Pharaoh is the divine incarnate. He is god. He rises to that level.
- In the Mesopotamia area, the kings were thought of as sons of god, but they are representatives, so that the kingdom, the state itself, is the source of ultimate authority. The state is god. The people exist only to serve the state. The people, the individuals, are basically irrelevant.
This is based on a metaphysical view, on a spiritual view that all reality is part of what is called the chain of being.
This chain of being basically says that everything from an amoeba to God all share in the same essence, the same existence. It is a chain of being. It is an early form of evolution—that they are all basically a part of that chain of being, and there is no distinction.
I developed this chart to contrast the two sides. This is the biblical view on your left. On the left side of the slide we have God, who is biblically a personal, infinite, Creator-God. The older I get, the more I observe from Scripture the emphasis again and again and again throughout the Old Testament, that is God saying that He is the Creator. This shows that creation is not a peripheral doctrine:
- Creation, a biblical form of creation.
- Ex nihilo creation by God.
God not only forms everything out of nothing, but then He forms it and shapes it for the habitation of mankind. He forms it in six days.
We believe that that is a re-creation—that there is an initial creation in Genesis 1:1, and then there is the fall of Satan between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.
It is not a long time period there. This view goes back to at least the Targum of Jonathan in the 2nd century. It was co-opted by certain creationists who were being influenced by evolution and historical geology in the early 1800s.
They said that they had this view where there is a gap between the creation of the original universe and the restoration. We will just jam 50,000 years in there, because at that time that is how old they thought the earth was.
Well, it went from 50,000 to 500,000 to 5 million, to whatever it is today. That became known as the Old Age Gap View. That is not correct because it assumes that geology today comes up with truth, in terms of the age of the earth, and it does not.
There have been numerous studies. ICR (Institution of Creation Research), Dr. Steve Austin, our speaker at the 2010 Chafer Conference, and our speaker at the upcoming 2016 Chafer Conference, has done numerous studies within geology and has talked about those.
You can go back and find those lectures on our website that he gave at the Chafer Conference in 2010. He shows that all of these dating mechanisms that evolutionists use are flawed in incredible ways. They do not arrive at truth.
What happened was you had theologians that came along and said, “This is true. The earth is old.” Well, that is not true. But when they assumed it was true, they had to find a place to put it.
They rammed it and crammed it and jammed between Genesis 1:1–1:2. There is a gap there, but it is a short gap. The earth is a young earth. It was during that time that Satan fell. That is the only place that we can really put it and be consistent with other things in Scripture.
God is the Creator-God who creates everything. He is the One who creates people. He creates the whole idea of social structure. It comes from this triune personal God from eternity past. God is both personal, and He is infinite. He is totally distinct from the universe.
So I have this black bar here which indicates His complete separation. In theology, it is called the Creator-creature distinction. He is totally distinct from the universe that He creates. He is not part of its being.
That is the problem you have with all evolutionary systems, all the ancient world mythologies and cosmogonies—that the universe is made out of the being of the god.
In biblical Christianity, Judeo-Christian origin, God is completely distinct from the universe. He created matter and energy. Then He created vegetation. Then He created animals. And the crown of His creation was human beings, created in His image and likeness.
But when you get over here on the right side of the slide, in all pagan thought and evolutionary thought, the only infinite that you have is the universe. You have this impersonal infinite universe. Then out of this that exists eternally, which is nothing more than matter, from this you have everything else derive.
Any gods are part of that matter, part of that original matter, whatever it was. Then man is simply a smaller form of god. They are still part of the same chain of being and so is nature. All of these are connected.
This is very important to understand—that this then has a great impact on your understanding of ultimate being and authority.
The other thing that I want to point out from this chart is that when you start talking to people about different issues related to government, and to all the issues related to the decisions we make with government, laws, things of that nature I like to use this iceberg illustration. Up here on the slide, you see one-tenth of the iceberg above the surface.
That is where most discussion takes place:
- We argue about what to do about certain refugees.
- We argue about whether or not to intervene in war against ISIS.
- We argue about abortion policy.
- We argue about issues related to capital punishment.
- We argue about what we are going to do in terms of marriage.
That is all up here above the surface.
But all of those discussions presuppose certain things. Whenever you start to recognize that there is a logical sequence that starts at the bottom, that what you see at the top is going to be based on what is at the bottom, that is the order.
First of all you have to look at the foundation for all thought. The foundation for all thought goes back to what we think about ultimate reality:
- Is there a God, or is there not?
- Is He eternal?
- Is what is eternal only matter, purely material, or energy, or nothing?
In the Big Bang Theory, which is the dominate theory today, if you go back and keep pushing time back, you go back about twenty billion years. And what you have is this extremely dense matter that is not very big, but it is extremely dense.
And for some unexplained reason it explodes.
We all know that when matter explodes, when anything explodes (you go look at what an IED does to a convoy in a Iraq, or you look to what happens when you have a big explosion down in one of the refineries in Texas City), we all know that that really improves everything, right?
It moves from disorder to order, right? Every explosion always makes things more organized? Not at all! It does not make anything more organized at all.
The problem that we have is that when we look at metaphysics that starts off with the Big Bang Theory, you are not only starting with an impersonal ultimate reality, which cannot explain individual personality, but it cannot explain individual personhood and the value of an individual person. Everything is just matter. There is nothing such as soul or life. It is inorganic. It cannot explain the rise of organic matter from inorganic matter.
Not only that, it basically utilizes a form of knowledge that is irrational. How can an explosion produce order? Evolutionists believe it can. That is irrational. That is illogical. You cannot point to anything in experience, history, or the known universe where an explosion takes you from disorder to order. An explosion just creates more disorder.
They have a metaphysic that does not fit with reality. They have a form of knowledge that is fundamentally irrational and illogical. That is going to lead to an ethic, a statement of right and wrong that they cannot ground in anything but the existence of a dense piece of matter.
They cannot ultimately say that something is absolutely right or absolutely wrong.
When you go up against this logic, you have to make political, national, or individual decisions. And if you are starting from the wrong foundation, you are always going to end up with bad decisions.
If your starting point excludes sin and depravity, then you cannot have a kind of government that produces righteousness because it does not understand righteousness. It can only come to grips with or express something that is purely utilitarian.
We come to 1 Samuel 8:6, and Samuel’s reaction is that it displeased him. Literally it means that Samuel thought that this was evil. He thinks it is evil because it is evil.
Pop quiz: How does the Bible define evil? Again and again and again as you go through Kings, as you go through all those kings, so and so followed in the footsteps of Jeroboam, the son of Nabat, “and they did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
What was it that they did? They worshiped idols. They set something up to worship in place of God. That is how the Bible fundamentally defines evil. Samuel is recognizing what is going on here. They are supplanting God with something else.
This is what happens in 1 Samuel 8:7. God says to Samuel, “… ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.’ ”
The ultimate issue here is not that they want monarchy vs. theocracy. The issue is that they do not want God having anything to do with their day-to-day life. It is a rejection of God.
How does God go on to explain this in 1 Samuel 8:8? “ ‘According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt…’ ”
Is that not interesting? This is a little reminder. Remember, I defeated all the gods, all the idols of Egypt back with the ten plagues.
“ ‘… since the day I brought them out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods …’ ”
Here is the issue. It is idolatry. It is rejecting God to follow after other gods. That is why Samuel recognizes it is evil, it is idolatry.
This is what happens when a culture rejects God. They are replacing God with the details of life that they value within that culture. It is a form of idolatry.
That brings us down to where we get the statement, the summary of what is going to happen. There are some more things that I want to say about that, so I want us to go ahead and just stop at this point. We will start with 1 Samuel 8:9.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to think through what You said in relation to government, in relation to politics, and in relation to leadership. We recognize that our nation really stands on the threshold of either repenting, changing, going back to the way the Founders established this nation or going forward into chaos and destruction. We pray for Your grace. We pray that the truth will be proclaimed that those who are in the media that continue to announce falsehoods through the various channels that they have, that their voices would not be heard.
“We pray for leaders who are believers, who are oriented to establishment truth and the divine institutions, that You would raise them up and that as they proclaim truth, that there would be a resonance in the hearts of this nation, so that we will see a new leadership come forward. Not that that is the ultimate solution, but it is the start of a solution. We pray that You might continue this, because this is a nation that continues to send out missionaries, that is a source of the gospel for many people, for millions and millions and millions of people throughout the world, as well as within this nation. We pray that this nation might continue, that we might be a bulwark of support for Israel, as well as a nation that is a source of the gospel truth for all people. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”