The Answer is Yes!
Once again, I am taking a risk and assuming that even though this article is long… you are interested enough to read it! I thank you ahead of time.
In the last seminar I lead a gentleman stood and asked me a question: If Christ was living on earth today would He be a Republican or a Democrat?
How would you have answered him? In the following article I give my response.
A Rational for This Article
The truths in this article are important today because there is such an attack on and negativity towards nationalism. Every nation in the world ought to be proud of their nation and support the foundations of their country. We Americans ought to be the most supportive of our nation because it is founded on Biblical principles. Therefore, it has been and is the freest country, provides the greatest opportunity for everyone to succeed if they are willing to work, and has the greatest wealth generating form of Government — a Constitutional Republic accompanied by Capitalism.
There was a reason that Alexis De Tocqueville, the famous French statesman and historian who traversed America in 1831 said,
“The position of the Americans is quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar position.”
(Look to Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, tr. Henry Reeve (New York: J&H.G. Langley 1840), Vol. 2, pp.36-37.)
That statement resulted in the phrase “American Exceptionalism,” describing the unprecedented stability, prosperity, and liberty produced by the institution and policies based on concepts such as God-given inalienable rights, individualism, private property, limited government, a judiciary based on objective laws, full republicanism, separation of powers, and an educated and virtuous citizenry. (Look to The Source of American Exceptionalism, page 281 in the Founders’ Bible.)
The question needs to be asked: Where did the Founding Fathers find these unique ideas?
After analyzing 15,000 writings from the Founding Era (1760-1805), and discovering the political sources and references from each of the writings, it was discovered that 3,154 quotations originated from the Bible: thirty four percent higher than the second most cited source.
“According to the researchers: “Although the citations came from virtually every part of the Bible, Saint Paul was the favorite in the New Testament…..Saint Peter was next, and then John’s Gospel. Deuteronomy was the most cited Old Testament book followed by Isaiah, Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus…Other prominently cited books from the Bible were Psalms, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Chronicles and Judges.”
(Look to Donald Lutz the Origins of American Constitutionalism, p. 140.
IS A PARTICULAR CULTURE SUPERIOR?
YES, GOD’S PLAN FOR THE JEWISH CULTURE AS REVEALED IN TORAH!
Culture is the customs, laws, arts, social institutions, and governing principles by which a society functions. It consists of the achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social groups. Culture is more than people individually believing a set of norms, it is the accumulation of “the many” in a society agreeing about how life should be lived. This collective agreement forms the necessary bonds for a civilization to thrive.
In some sense, most everyone believes where they live, and their way of life is superior to other cultures. Even if people are suppressed in their land and end up moving away, they usually bring their way of life to that new country.
Observe that God’s evaluation of the culture created by Him and the instruction He gave the Jewish people was a superior way of life. Why? Because it was rooted in Torah.
“5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? 9 Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” – Deuteronomy 4:5-9 NIV
Since we believe that God brings His Truth to shape every discipline and arena of life, we could be accused of being dogmatically exclusive. From the above passage in Deuteronomy, it is interesting to me that God is not hesitant to compare nations, and individual people, by stating one is better than another in how they conduct their lives and affairs.
Christ Himself will make a distinction between nations when He returns in His Second Coming.
31 When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divide His sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left” – Matthew 25:31-33 KJV
All monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) are ideologically and theologically exclusive as, in fact, they should be. As Christ followers, we also ought not to be expected, nor should we adjust our moral center, to accommodate the opinions of the secular public square, or any other ideology for that matter. Look at the exclusivity (or intolerance) of ideologies, like Communism, Marxism, Socialism, and now the Social Justice Movement, based on Critical Race Theory. Each of these ideologies considers their philosophy as superior and absolute and, therefore, are very intolerant of other ideologies in their basic core beliefs.
However, as I asked in my last teaching article: Are these ideologies sociologically tolerant?
The Jewish people were meant to be the dispensers of Torah Culture?
2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, and make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” – Gen. 12:2-3 NASV
The verses above, Genesis 12:2-3, are some of the most famous verses in the Tanakh, (The OT or Hebrew Bible). Many of us who profess Jesus Christ have repeated many times phrases like:
• If you bless Israel, you will be blessed.
• The nation that stands by Israel, God will stand by it.
• The nation that curses Israel will surely be cursed.
Genesis 12:2-3 is explaining several powerful Truths:
• God will bless (confer favor upon) Abram and his descendants.
• God will curse those individuals and nations that curse Abram and his offspring.
• Through Abram all the families of the earth will be blessed and will bless (bring favor on) themselves through him.
The JPS, RSV, and AMP versions include the phrase, “will bless themselves.”
The (JPS) is the New Jewish Publication Scripture which is translated from the Traditional Hebrew Text called the Masoretic Text. The Masoretic manuscripts are the newest and fewest of the original scrolls from which the New American Standard translation is derived. The RSV (Revised Standard Version, and the Amplified Version) also include the phrase “all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.”
How will people “bless themselves” by Abram? When the families of the earth learn how to act toward one another through living by the moral laws, statutes, commands, and values God will reveal to Abraham and his descendants. The road to a good and righteous world is through the Torah (law), and the Prophets, as Jesus Christ reiterated, “17 Do not presume that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill [interpret it, explain it, model it]. 18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter shall pass from the Law, until all is accomplished! 19 “Therefore, whoever nullifies one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others [to do] the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches [them,] he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 5:17-19].
It is most intriguing to realize that during the Messiah’s Millennial kingdom, the moral and judicial law will be operative and dispensed from the central location of the Temple on Mt. Zion. Observe this incredible verse from Isaiah.
“Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” – Isaiah 2:3 NIV
A guy in our men’s group did a five-week study of all 613 laws. He broke them down into categories like ceremonial laws that were not applicable to us and then a variety of categories like: financial matters, justice issues, relationships, dealing with crimes, punishments, sins from theft to adultery, and the value of the feast days. It was so illuminating, and we soon discovered that the perception of the Law being punitive, restrictive, and legalistic, quickly went out the window. The financial matters were quite specific and extensive because they address wise decisions with one’s finances like how to diversify your investments, debt, honest negotiations, being generous and how to provide an inheritance for one’s family. These powerful laws informed us about how to live life before God and our fellow man, with insight, clarity, direction, and empowerment for us as individual Christ followers and for the success of a society and culture.
Clearly my friends, the moral and judicial Laws will be operative even into the Millennial Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. It behooves us to understand them, apply and live according to their principles now. A clear description and distinction between the moral, judicial, ceremonial and social compact laws can be found in the Founders’ Bible pages 161-170.
God established Nations and therefore cultures within those nations
Very few nations last a long time. Nations rise and fall. One nation succeeds another in a given region, and then still another, and this process has been going on for centuries. All of this is taking place within the providence of God (and perhaps His direct intervention). As both Moses and Paul reminded us (Deuteronomy 32:8 and Acts 17:24-28), the times and boundaries of the nations have been determined by God.
“The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.” [Psalm 9:17 NLT]. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,” – Psalm 33:12 ESV
Within the context of nations, it is relevant to comment on the New Testament passage that is referenced in Deuteronomy 32:8, which is Acts 17:24-28.
The Apostle Paul Addressing Philosophers of the Areopagus
Just Southwest of the Acropolis in Athens is a hill called the Hill of Ares (Mars in Latin), the god of war. I had the privilege to teach on Mars Hill the last time we took a trip there. This is where court was held concerning questions of religion, morals, and philosophy. The Apostle Paul presented the gospel message with the supposed experts of philosophy and religion.
Because the men of Athens had a scant knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, Paul started with the general revelation visible in creation. In the sixth century B.C. it was said that a poet from Crete named Epimenides turned aside a horrible plague from the people of Athens by appealing to a god of whom the people had never heard. An altar was built to honor this god, which the Athenians now called the UNKNOWN GOD. Paul knew of Epimendides; for he quoted the poet in Titus 1:12.
But now let’s address the passage from Deuteronomy 32:8 that is reiterated and expanded on in Acts 17.
24 “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 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; 27 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: 28 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” – Act 17:24-28 KJV
Allow me to make a few comments about these verses:
17:24 “God that made the world and all the things therein…”
No other cosmology (the science of the origin and development of the universe), whether in ancient paganism or modern naturalism, even mentions the absolute origin of the universe. All begin with the space/time/matter universe existing in a primeval state of chaos, then attempt to speculate how it might have evolved into the present form. Modern evolutionism begins with elementary particles of matter evolving out of nothing in a “big bang” and then developing through natural forces into complex systems. Pagan pantheism also begins with elementary matter in various forms evolving into complex systems by the forces of nature personified as different gods and goddesses. But very significantly, the concept of the special creation of the universe of space and time itself is found nowhere in all religion or philosophy, ancient or modern, except in Genesis 1:1. The Apostle Paul is no doubt referring to this account in Genesis.
The above Scriptural phrase flatly contradicted the Epicureans, who believed matter was eternal and therefore had no creator. Genesis 1:1 records that the universe had a beginning and was not eternal. The creation of space (“heaven”), of time (“in the beginning”), and matter (“the earth”) therefore was a totally different understanding from what the Epicureans believed.
It also flies in the face of Evolution’s Big Bang Theory.
Because there is so much design in the universe, Darwinian Evolution grasps for answers from a purely natural theory as it teaches that matter on its own randomly manifests into order and complexity. However, there is nothing in the existing universe that supports the notion that out of chaos comes complexity. This false notion also goes completely counter to one the most basic laws of science—the law of causality, which states that no effect can be greater that its cause. A universe comprising of an array of intelligible and complex effects, including living systems and conscious personalities, is itself proof of an intelligent, complex, living conscious Person as its Cause.
It also contradicts the laws of thermodynamics which are the most universal and best-proved generalizations of science, applicable to every process and system of any kind. The First Law states that no matter and energy is now being created or destroyed.“On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.”- Gen. 2:2-3 NLT
The Second Law of thermodynamics states that all existing matter or energy is proceeding toward ultimate equilibrium and cessation of all processes. Romans affirms this law:
“the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” – Romans 8:21 NLT
The Biblical total truth worldview of God’s created order is that He not only is the Creator of all things, but that everything had a beginning, and He has always existed. Exodus 3:14 records the great encounter of Moses with God in the burning bush, which illuminates this Truth.
Moses asks God who shall I say has sent me (Ex.3:13)? God answers him by providing His Name, —I AM THAT I AM, which is the to be verb in the Hebrew indicating that Yahweh God is eternally self-existing, and He always was, and He always will be! This is profoundly staggering for it elevates Yahweh above everything in heaven and earth. This was a radical concept in a polytheistic culture and God continued to proclaim that there was and is only One God as Deuteronomy 6:4 teaches along with many other scriptures. As this teaching provoked anger in many people in the past, so today when we as Christ followers teach there is only one true God and that there is only one way to God through Jesus Christ, we will receive significant kickback.
17:24 “Lord of heaven and earth.” Talking to the pagan intellectuals and philosophers, Paul starts with the witness in creation and ends with Christ and the resurrection, urging them to believe. When evangelizing pagans Paul started from creation, the general revelation of God (cf. 14:15-17). When evangelizing Jews, he started from the OT (vv.17: 10-13).
His audience consisted of Epicureans and Stoic philosophers (verse 18). The Epicureans were materialist—they did not deny the existence of God, but they believed He did not become involved with the affairs of men. Stoic philosophy taught self-mastery—the goal in life was to reach a place of indifference to pleasure or pain.
17:25 “life, and breath.” This is the only occurrence of “breath” in the New Testament. However, Genesis 2:7 which is a most marvelous verse for it teaches us that Yahweh (Ellohim) breathed into man a living spirit which is in the Image of God (1:26). This separates mankind from animals who only have the capacity to act instinctively and do not live eternally. Man (used in a generic sense, male and female) however, because he is created in the image of God and has an eternal spirit has the capacity of personal fellowship with our Creator God. Having a “living spirit” mankind has a moral conscience, can think abstract thoughts, has an appreciation for beauty, has emotional feelings, and especially the capacity for worshiping (bowing in obedience) and loving (affection for and obedience to) God. The Apostle Paul brings up the concept of the Image of God in his closing remarks—“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring.” – Acts 17:28. WOW!
Because of the distorted affection people lavish on their pets, and the permeation of evolutionary thought that we simply have evolved from apes to humans, we are seeing an elevated view of animals almost to the level of humans. Many people treat their pet better than they treat their spouse. On numerous occasions non-Christians have asked me questions about their pets like: Will my dog or cat live forever? Do they have an eternal spirit? Will my dog be with me in heaven? It is so rewarding to communicate the unique difference between humans and animals from Genesis. As I have said you can do this at Christmas parties, at barbecues, and many other settings.
Once again there is no limit as to what non-Christians can receive from the word of God. The greater challenge is asking ourselves, are we prepared to give an answer? (1 Peter 3:15; Colossians 4:6; 2 Timothy 4:2)
17:26 “of one blood.” The concept of race has no basis in Scripture, and the word race is not found in the Bible. This verse is saying all men are ascended from Adam, through Noah, and thus all members of one race —the human race. The term race as it has been used in a more recent history is strictly an evolutionary concept, with race understood as a sub-species with the process of evolving into a new species. There is no observable scientific evidence for such evolutionary transformations among either men or animals.
An accurate biblical labeling for the concept of “race” are terms like people groups, tribes, nations, ethnicities, ethnic groups, families, and multitudes. I have significantly restricted the use of the word race when interacting with others.
As an aside, I remember when I was teaching the book of Genesis at Rolling Hills, I explained how Darwin’s concept of “race” fueled the flames for antisemitism within Germany and the world. In the 100th edition of The Origin of the Species, the subtitle was The preservation of favored races in the struggle for life. Sir Arthur Keith who wrote the forward to the 100th edition admitted: “Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable.” (Look to page 75 in Scientific Facts by Ray Comfort.)
I point this out to demonstrate how important it is to understand Scripture and how it relates to history and the present. Once we can do this we are then able to teach and explain it accurately. Please remember that you are a teacher☺!
The “one blood,” or “one man”, understanding ought to establish the reality that since we all originated from Adam, this rules out racism because the various ethnic groups come from one person, Adam.
A follower of Jesus Christ ought to be discerning regarding the use of “race.” For example, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is built on false premises and misuse of the term “race,” which has helped foster the racial divide that we see in our nation. A clear biblical understanding of Acts 17:26, ought to empower believers to speak this Truth into the false narrative being promoted by the culture.
17: 26 “bounds of their habitation.” God raises up nations and puts them down, as He chooses. We also know that there is a “national accountability” in which nations are judged and evaluated according to the policies, judicial laws established, and national behaviors. Obadiah says: “For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on you own head.” – Obadiah 1:15. I will provide, in another article, the criteria by which nations will be Judged by God.
As the Book of Daniel says, ”It is He who changes the times and the epochs [periods of time with marked events and characteristics]; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.” – Daniel 2:21.
God is Creator, Provider—Ruler. He has established the boundaries of all men, the boundaries of all nations. This means that the boundaries of the nations are governed by God. There is a lot of talk today, even in Christian literature, about getting rid of nationalism. If there were no separate nations, proponents say, the world could be just one big village. In Genesis 10, it is clearly seen that after the Flood, boundaries were established in which men would dwell nationally. This is part of the plan for the world in its fallen state. (Look to my article dated May 18, 2022, titled “Is World Unity a Biblical Idea?”)
Study history and you will see the wisdom of His plan, for invariably, whenever a nation has overstepped its boundaries in an effort to swallow another country or culture, oppression, racial prejudice, bitterness, and death have been the result. Therefore, while there is indeed a unity of humanity in which God has made of one blood all nations, there is also a diversity of nationality in which He has established boundaries for our protection until the time Jesus Christ returns to rule and reign with righteousness.
17:27 “That they should seek the Lord,” These verses have a two-fold application as they address nations but because nations consist of people, they are also addressing individuals. This verse is one of the most awe-inspiring verses in the New Testament! Why? Think about this, if God sovereignly places nations in their boundaries so He also places individuals in those nations. For what purpose?
That they may seek God and find Him!!!
That means the people in Africa, China, Europe, Iran, etc. are in those nations because it is the perfect place for them to find the true and Living God Yahweh!
The Lord’s objective for mankind is revealing Himself as the creator, ruler, and controller of the world. Mankind has no excuse for not knowing about God because He has revealed Himself in man’s conscience and in the physical world. Even the most primitive people have a consciousness of a supreme being which might be elementary, but it is still there. Of course, God will be fair to those who have had less light given to them. Acts 17:30 conveys this principle, “So having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now proclaiming to mankind that all people everywhere are to repent.”
Romans 1:19; and 2:14-15 amplify this truth. “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So, they have no excuse for not knowing God” – Romans 1:19-20 NLT
“Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right” – Romans 2:14-15 NLT
17:27 (cont,) if perhaps they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: 28 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 verse is so staggeringly wonderful for it shows that all people no matter their geographical location can find the living God. The central reason: humans are created in His Image, and we all bounce up against the nature of the True God by observing and living with ourselves!
The late great Francis Schaeffer called it the “mannish of man.” (Look to Francis A. Schaeffer, “Art and the Bible”).
17:28 “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.” Even the pagan poets Paul quoted recognized the presence of God even though they did not believe in Him. Paul masterfully affirms their recognition by saying in verse 29 (ESV), “For we are indeed his offspring.”
My Answer to the Question the Gentleman asked me.
The answer I gave the man was: Jesus Christ would be neither republican nor democrat.
He would be a Torah Follower!
Using our terminology today He would be an Independent that would follow the ways of the law, which was and is God’s Instruction Manual for a society. This does not mean Christ would not have voted. He paid taxes (Matthew 17:21). He was living under a Totalitarian Regime He could not vote for or against Caesar.
A Challenge for Modern Christendom
One of the fundamental problems associated with the Western/Christendom tradition is the fact that as Christianity traveled farther and farther from its homeland it took in Hellenistic-(Greek) and Roman culture. Many benefits ensued from the gospel’s taking root in the Roman Empire, which I have covered many times over the years. However, one of the most damaging results was the destruction of the primary Hebraic worldview, which both birthed and sustained the key biblical ideas. The pronounced worldview of the Torah was alive and well in the first years of the church after Christ’s Resurrection because most of the early church was composed of Jewish converts who were steeped in the Hebraic culture. Remember our Lord was a Rabbi! As it moved farther away from Israel geographically, and Judaism politically and socially, the gospel began to define itself over against Judaism, and even began to become shamefully anti-Semitic.
This was a tragic historical blunder because it was only out of the Hebraic matrix (an environment in which something develops) that a true understanding of the faith of the Scriptures, including the New Testament (the ongoing covenant), could be maintained over the long haul. As a result, the elemental biblical worldview was replaced by, at best, a syncretistic (combining two or more ideas) blend of the Hebraic and the Hellenistic, and at worse, and outright rejection of the Hebraic in favor of the Hellenistic. Hebraic thought also gave the New Testament Christianity its inner meaning and vigor. A move away from the Jewish roots has deeply infected the church’s understanding of God, Christ, our mission, our ethics, and our way of living which reinforced the unbiblical, sometimes outright pagan, understandings and assumptions.
The world ignores the Torah and the Bible at its peril.
The Converse is also true: An individual or a culture that pays attention and attempts to follow the Moral and Judicial Laws will find success.
Responding to these truths.
#1 From my perspective why is this article important?
#2 Comment on the powerful verses of Deuteronomy 4:5-9.
#3 From Genesis 12:2-3, explain what it means that all “nations shall bless themselves” because of the Jewish Culture.
#4 Explain why the Law is vital for us to attempt to obey? Please summarize Christ’s thoughts about the law, and prophets.
#5 Select three concept that you learned from Acts 17:24-28 and attempt to communicate them to another person. You will be amazed at the conversation this will create.
#6 How would you answer the question: Would Jesus Christ be a Republican or a Democrat?
#7 Summarize the Challenge facing Modern Christendom.
Standing in the AWE of our LORD JESUS CHRIST!