FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE- Part XLVII
Will a “Christian” sharia-like Theocracy arise in America?
Let’s consider the matter in the light of ecclesiastical history—during the time of Christ, the Dark Ages in the Old World, and in America during its fledgling years: First, my favorite author, Ellen G. White, penned the following based on Luke 17: 20-22:
“Some of the Pharisees had come to Jesus demanding ‘when the kingdom should come.’ More than three years had passed since John the Baptist gave the message that like of a trumpet call had sounded through the land, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matt. 3: 2. And as yet these Pharisees saw no indication of the establishment of the kingdom. Many of those who rejected John [the Baptist, Christ’s forerunner], and at every step had opposed Jesus, were insinuating that His mission had failed.
“Jesus answered, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with outward show [margin]: neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.’ The kingdom of God begins in the heart. Look not here or there for manifestations of earthly power to mark its coming.” – The Desire of Ages, “Not with Outward How” chapter LV, Pacific Press Publishing Asso. Mt. View CA, 1940, New Edition Thirteenth Printing, Apr. 1950, p. 506.
“The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. . . [1 Cor. 2: 14 quoted]. But today in the religious world there are multitudes who, as they believe, are working for the establishment of the kingdom of Christ as an earthly and temporal dominion. They desire to make our Lord the ruler of the kingdoms of this world, the ruler in its courts and camps, its legislative halls, its palaces and market places. They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, enforced by human authority. Since Christ is not now here in person, they themselves will undertake to act in His stead, to execute the laws of His kingdom.
“The establishment of such a kingdom is what the Jews desired in the days of Christ. They would have received Jesus, had He been willing to establish a temporal dominion, to enforce what they regard as the laws of God, and make them expositors of His will and the agents of His authority. But He said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’ Matt. 18: 36. He would not accept the earthly throne.
Christ’s Example for all who would be politically-militant Christians. “The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand there were crying abuses,–extortions, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Savior attempted no civil reforms. He attacked not national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart.
“Not by the decisions of the courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. ‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor or the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ John 1: 12, 13, K.J.V.
“Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the word of God . . . .
“Now, as in Christ’s day, the work of God’s kingdom lies not with those who are clamoring for recognition and support by earthly rulers and human laws, but with those who are declaring to the people in His name those spiritual truths that will work in the receivers the experience of Paul: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ Gal. 2: 20. Then they will labor as did Paul for the benefit of men [not for the political or financial benefit of their churches]. He said, ‘Now are we ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.’ 2 Cor. 5: 20.“- Ibid, pp. 509, 510.
Puritanical Neo-Theocracy: Type of Final American Crisis?
A Puritan is defined as, “One who, in the time of Queen Elizabeth and the first two Stuarts, opposed traditional and formal usages, and advocated simpler forms of faith and worship than those established by law.” But it also adds: “One who practices or preaches a more rigorous or professedly purer moral code that that which prevails.”- Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Fifth Edition, Merriam-Webster, 1942.
Ken Curtis, Ph.D., wrote in Christianity.com “Who Were the Puritans?” “Church History Timeline, 1601-1700: “First came the Pilgrims in the 1820s. They were followed by thousands of Puritans in the 1830s, and these Puritans left their mark on their new land, becoming the most dynamic Christian force in the American colonies . . . . Honor the Lord’s day. “The Puritans believed God and His worship were important enough to reserve at least one full day out of the week, and the original Puritan settlers joyfully devoted Sunday to the Lord. . . . Shaping America. “The Puritans who settled in New England laid a foundation for a nation unique in world history.
Their beliefs had a most significant influence on the subsequent development of America. A large portion of later pioneers and westward settlers were descendants of these early Puritans. Their values and principles, though sometime secularized from their religious foundations, continue to mold American thought and practices in the next centuries.” – Ken Curtis. (See also their take on “The Truth about the Wall of Separation.”
How accurately indeed if one understands the true nature of the great controversy as delineated in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation! What particular “marks” did the Puritans “leave in their new land,” and what was the “foundation for a nation they laid that was “unique in world history”? One is condemned to repeat history is he doesn’t learn from it. Many know the Puritans fled from religious persecution by their countries’ state churches, to America. What they sadly know little of is that the Puritans themselves became persecutors of those that dissented to their religious ideas in their colonies in America. They denied others what they sought.
Charles S. Longacre, Gen. Secretary, Religious Liberty Association; and editor of Liberty, a magazine of religious freedom, published at Washington, D.C. (1927) wrote in The Church in Politics:
“For more than fifteen hundred years the ecclesiastical courts of European countries never thought of giving Sunday observance statutes any other standing in the law than a ‘religious status.’ The law of Charles II, of England, enacted in 1676, was similar in character to the Sunday law of Charlemagne. The Sunday law of Charles II reads, in part, as follows: [‘Acts of the 29th of Charles II, chapter 7, issued in 1676; cited in ‘A Critical History of Sunday Legislation,’ by A.H. Lewis, D. D., pp. 106, 109 quoted].
‘All the English colonies in America sooner or later followed the precedent established by the Sunday law of Charles II.
“The Puritans of New England and the Episcopal Church in Virginia became the established churches in their respective colonies, and everyone, both church members and non-church members, was assessed alike to support the legally established churches, and every person was compelled to ‘attend divine service onSunday’ or forfeit ten shillings for each default.”
“The Real Blue Laws. “Some of the modern Sunday law advocates do not like the term ‘Sunday blue laws,’ or ‘Puritan blue laws,’ and they have gone so far in expressing their aversion for this opprobrious term that they have denied the existence of blue laws. Some otherwise well-informed clergymen have recently rushed into print [this was published 1927], and have declared unqualifiedly that there are no blue laws; never were. The reason why they are not ‘blue’ to them, is undoubtedly because these drastic laws are just what they want. Nothing is ‘blue’ to the man who wants the thing to look white.
“The modern Sunday law advocate boldly and confidently asserts that the so-called blue laws of Puritan times were the mental creation of a Rev. Samuel Peters, a loyalist, who, fleeing the wrath of the colonists in the early Revolutionary days, returned to England, where he wrote a book, quoting from memory many of the drastic laws the colonies had enacted under the Puritan theocracy. . . .”
“Puritan Sunday Laws. “If there are still those who doubt the existence of real Sunday blue laws, let them consider the following, still found in the old statute books of Connecticut: “Connecticut Statute Enacted in 1636:
“Whoever profanes the Lord’s day [Sunday], or any part of it, either by sinful servile work, or by unlawful sport, recreation, or otherwise, whether willfully, or in a careless neglect, shall be duly punished by fine, imprisonment, or corporally, according to the nature and measure of the sins and offense. But if the courts upon examination, by clear and satisfying evidence, find that the sin was proudly, presumptuously, and with a high hand committed against the known command and authority of the blessed God, such a person therein despising and reproaching the Lord, shall be put to death, that all others may fear and shun such provoking rebellious courses.’ – ‘The Blue Laws, True and False,’ by J. H. Trumbull, pp. 252, 252.
“The Puritans inflicted the death penalty, not only for the violation of their Sunday laws, but for failure to conform to twelve other religious obligations which they imposed upon every person, irrespective of his religious beliefs. He who favors religious laws, with the death penalty attached for dissenters and violators, and then has the boldness and audacity publicly to assert that such laws are not ‘blue,’ is not only mentally color blind, but spiritually blind. If a man calls the death penalty for violating a Sunday law ‘mild,’ we should like to know what kind of penalty he would call ‘severe.’ – ibid, pp. 58, 59.
“Puritan clergymen were responsible for these drastic laws, which resulted in the martyrdom of good and conscientious Christians. The civil magistrates and the courts were under the absolute control of these intolerant men. They aimed to set up a theocracy with the clergymen of the established church declaring the will of God, and made thirteen different religious offenses punishable by death. . . . .” – Ibid, p. 59.
“Maryland and Virginia Blue Laws.- “The Puritans of New England were not the only religious sect that favored the union of church and state, and denied religious freedom to dissenters. Maryland and Virginia were equally guilty and intolerant on the subject of compulsory Sunday and other religious obligations, which they strictly enforced by law. Maryland, in 1649, the very year it passed the Toleration Act, also passed the following law:
‘If any person whatsoever inhabiting this province shall blaspheme, that is, curse God, deny our Savior to be the Son of God, or deny the Holy Trinity, or the Godhead of any of the three Persons, or the unity of the Godhead, or shall utter any reproachful words or language concerning the Holy Trinity, or any of the three Persons thereof, he or she shall for the first offense be bored through the tongue, and fined 20 sterling, to the king, or if the party hath not an estate sufficient to answer the sum, then to suffer six months’ imprisonment. For the second offense, he or she shall be stigmatized in the forehead with the letter B, and fined 40 sterling (etc.), or be imprisoned for one year. And for the third offense, he or she so offending and thereof legally convicted, shall suffer death, with confiscation of all their goods and chattels to the king.’- Ibid, p. 62.
NOTE: Those currently making the rounds, teaching that “there are only two Persons in the Godhead” and that “the Holy Spirit is not a Person but a “power, essence, or influence” should thank God they were not born earlier in New England, and that as of this writing, the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of conscience is still protected by the First Amendment! Not forever, however, according to the prophecy of Revelation 13 regarding the “image of the beast.”
“In this Act there is not much toleration for the unbeliever. The statute was re-enacted by the legislature in 1699. Also the compulsory Sunday observance laws of Maryland were as drastic as were those of Puritan New England and Episcopal Virginia.
“Episcopalian Persecution and Blue Laws. – As a general rule. It makes little difference in its ability to persecute whether a state church is Protestant or Catholic, Puritan or Episcopal, Presbyterian or Methodist. If it has the numerical strength to lord it over the minority sects, it employs the same force, and metes out similar punishments to all dissenters. Episcopal Virginia followed closely in the steps of Puritan New England. Thomas Jefferson, an illustrious son of Virginia, who finally succeeded in separating church and state in that commonwealth and establishing religious freedom for all men, has this to say of its early history:”– Ibid, pp. 62, 63.
(Continued next week)