Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
This month’s articles are "Biblical Vows and their Present Significance" and "Is David’s Throne in Existence Today?"
I selected this first article as a comparison to a recent event where the Pledge of Allegiance was ruled unconstitutional by a 3-judge panel of 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals. While the particulars of the case are not important (it likely will be overturned), several aspects of the pledge of allegiance need to be brought to your attention. The Pledge is a simple sentence:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands; one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
First, the Pledge is simple a public statement with no legal binding power. The problematic words "under God" were added by Congress in 1954. The "pledge" itself is made to the "Flag," which represents the "Republic." The pledge is not made to the government of the United States. The pledge is made to the symbol of a particular form of government, a republic. In a republic power is granted to representatives chosen by the people. In the United States the people are constitutionally sovereign, not the government.
Why a flag? A flag represents the nation, its unity, ideals, common beliefs and goals. There is nothing wrong with honoring such a symbol, as long as fervor and patriotism are guided by God’s law of love.
Why a republic? The founding fathers feared and hated democracy for large governments. Democracy was excellent for small communities and groups where citizens could actively participate in running the affairs, but it was considered unwieldy and too easily controlled by manipulators of the masses. In fact the Constitution of the United States guarantees this form of government. The Constitution says,
"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive ... against domestic Violence."
Article 4, Section 4
A democracy can turn into a tyranny by the majority, which can quickly transform into oppression of a minority unprotected by the rule of law. The rule of law is the glue which secures a Republic. Such a tyrannical mob demanded the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, very soon after it proclaimed Him to be their king (Matthew 27:20, 25). Recall also that a mob at Ephesus that attempted to kill apostle Paul (Acts 19).
[Personally, I shudder every time I hear a politician state that the United States is a democracy and not a republic. Either they are ignorant, or they are stating the fact of the true government structure. DWS]
It is redundant to say that the United States of America is "one nation under God" because all nations are "under God" whether they acknowledge that fact or not. Consider Paul’s statement to the Athenians,
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, ... And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."
This article gives the evidence of what the Bible says about vows, not Ernest Martin’s opinion. Some vows are very serious, such as when a person takes an oath of citizenship, or joins the military. If you join the government or military of the United States—or become a Federal judge—you should understand the oath you are taking. Dr. Martin commented after the September 11 tragedy that he would gladly take an oath to—again—actively defend the United States. Consider the military and government oath,
"I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
United States Code, Section 502.
The second article about David’s Throne deals with David’s Greater Son, Jesus Christ, who was resurrected and is alive, soon to return and occupy that throne. One of the major prophets of the Bible misunderstood a prophecy about that throne. The prophet accused God of lying and giving a false prophecy. The prophet’s misunderstanding and accusation placed him in jeopardy of swift and direct punishment from God. It a useful lesson to all of us as to the problems of misapplying scripture.
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Next month’s article is will be "The 7 Miracles of John" by Dr. Martin. It describes the seven special miracles found only in John that demonstrate clearly Jesus’ role as creator and His total control over all elements of that creation. These miracles are not found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. These seven miracles were specifically selected as "signs" from the many that Jesus performed because they demonstrate John’s post-Mystery understanding of Jesus’ role as Messiah and Savior of all mankind.
"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
John goes on to shows an 8th miracle, the greatest of all, forming a perfect "octave" of signs. They are all designed to show Jesus’ divinity and control over creation.
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Please ... read and consider all ASK material with your Bible open. For one thing you are checking the accuracy of the quotes and citations as given. Furthermore, as you inevitably explore the contexts around the quotes and citations, you will begin to understand your Bible more and more.
Your continued financial support to publish the works of Ernest L. Martin through ASK is most heartening to us. Most of you have never seen the material we have published since Dr. Martin’s death last January. It would be a tragedy for such a resource to stop. There is a large amount of material to be published that has relevance as great or greater than when it was originally put forth to an audience different from ASK. Thank you again and again. Each of us—you included—is doing his and her part all to the glory of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
David W. Sielaff
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