Tag Archives: Bible

Ducks, Homosexuals, and Cowards!

phil-robertson-p11 Well, the Duck Dynasty issue has certainly grabbed a hold of the interest of a lot of people. Some have called it a free speech issue, and I guess to some degree that is accurate, but far more important than free speech, this seems to me to be an issue of the credibility of the Word of God.

If you are not aware, Phil Robertson said something so shocking that the A&E Network suspended him. What was the shocking and unbelievably crass thing that Phil Robertson said that got him in so much trouble? Well this Huffington Post Headline summarizes the issue better than anything I have read on it. “’Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson Makes Anti-Gay Remarks, Says Being Gay Is A Sin.”

What is Shocking and unbelievable is that anyone who has ever read their Bible could possibly think otherwise. News flash – Adultery is a sin. Is this shocking? No. Murder is a sin. Again there is no shock and awe when the obvious is stated. Then again, adultery and murder are not sacraments of Modern American Christianity.

I have dealt with the issue in the past, but the fact that Homosexuality is a sin, is irrefutable. Is it a far worse sin than the many other sins that haunt the American Church? No. But, It is the only one that attempts to justify it and make it o.k. by creating special interest groups.

If you have a friend who is involved in the sin of adultery and you tell this friend to repent and come back to Christ are you accused of hating him? Maybe sometimes, but all Christians are aware that to call some one back from danger and to tell them to repent is not hatred, in fact it is the only loving thing a person can do.

Homosexuality, at least the way it is treated in today’s church, seems to be the exception to this rule. If you tell someone there is healing in Jesus, and that Jesus forgives even homosexuality well, that is just being a hater and being judgmental. So rather than risk offending the person we coddle them. We patronize them and contrary to all Scripture, we tell them that Homosexuality is different. God made you that way after all. Well, to say that is to run contrary to the teaching of the Word of God.

One of the quotes that people are dredging up to demonize Phil Robertson is the following: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” Apparently this quote is so off the chain, because Phil is judging who goes to heaven and who does not. Well, l hate to shock people, but other than maybe a Louisiana slant to the passage this quote is from the Bible. It is from Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth where he warns them to not be deceived. You see Corinth had a lot of the same problems we have in the Church today. They prided themselves on their open and accepting ways, and Paul let them know that what they were doing was practicing a wicked type of self deception.

Please note, Phil, quoting Paul, did not only condemn the homosexuals, he condemned the greedy, the idolatrous, and the adulterers. Why is it that we don’t have special interest groups clamoring around Adulterers of the World? Well I definitely have my theories, but let me say it plainly. Phil Robertson Is a Christian man who has flaws, but he also loves people enough to tell them the truth even if it costs him. The accusation that when a person speaks the Word of God without apologies is that his speech is hateful. How hateful? I saw Phil being linked with the likes of Hitler for his statements today. I know, we Americans love to engage in hyperbole. but what is amazing is so called Christian people are coming down on Phil for quoting the Bible and they are comparing him to Adolph Hitler. Be careful what you get angry at.

I guess it you are the so called victims in a society you can get away with making wicked comparisons. Well Christians, Jesus said if the world hated him they would hate you as well. Does the world swoon over your every word or are you hated for the sake of Christ’s words?

Speak up for truth and it is likely you won’t be invited to certain functions. But Jesus said if you were ashamed of Him before men, he would be ashamed of you before His Father.

I am glad that Phil Robertson is not ashamed of the Word of God.  I am also pleased that he loves people enough to proclaim God’s Word without reservation. even when it is about issues that some people consider off limits. In doing this he is being accused of being a bigot and an unloving person. I say what he is doing is putting love to action. To quote the Word of God is not too hate. The most pathetic people in this contest are the ones who claim the name of Christ but are not willing to follow its commands. They are nothing more than pretenders and cowards. They claim to love, but by their actions they show themselves to be nothing more than cowards and wimps.

Revelation 21:7-8 says that “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

All of the sexually immoral will take part in this second death. Phil Robertson unashamedly proclaims this when he quotes Paul in 1 Corinthians. It is common today to leave the homosexuals off this list, after all, how can you judge someone for who they love? Well, if the Bible is your standard, you will realize that is not the question. The question is why are you apologizing for or “correcting” God’s Word? The answer is that you are either an unbeliever or a coward, and if you read the above passage you will realize that your fate is the same.

May we all be given a strong dose of the courage of Phil Robertson, along with the love of our fellow man to show them that Jesus Saves from all sin.

A Couple Dispensational Problems

The essence of dispensationalism, then, is the distinction between Israel and the Church. This grows out of the dispensationalists’ consistent employment of normal or plain interpretation, and it reflects an understanding of the basic purpose of God in all His dealings with mankind as that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes as well. —    Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today

In the above quote Charles Ryrie, a leading dispensationalist expresses his view that the key tenant of Dispensational theology is the distinction between Israel and the Church.   What is really interesting about this “distinctive” doctrine, is that prior to the 19th century it was unheard of any where in Church history.

Keith Mathison in his excellent book on Dispensationalism, titled “Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God?” says:`“The early church fathers are almost unanimous in their identification of the church and Israel.   One example will suffice.  Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) is often quoted by dispensationalists attempting to prove the history of premillennialism.   He (Martyr) was a premillennialist, but he was certainly not a dispensationalist.   In chapter 135 of his Dialogue with Trypho, Justin writes, “As therefore, Christ is the Israel and the Jacob, even so we, who have been quarried out from the bowels of Christ, are the true Israeliteic race.   Here is Justin, a gentile church leader speaking to Trypho a Jew, and claiming that the church is the true Israel.”

Dispensationalists in their attempt to to defend the historic standing of their position, equate dispensationalism with pre-millennialism.  But the two are not the same, and dispensationalism is definitely the new kid on the block.  I did a paper a few years ago where I listed five specific views that dispensationalists hold that separate them from not only historic premillennialism, but historic Christian teaching in general.   I will discuss a couple of those here.

First,    dispensationalism teaches that God has two distinct programs in history.  One is for Israel and one for the church.   As I mentioned earlier the distinctive doctrine of dispensationalism is the distinction between Israel and the church.  How God deals with these two groups of people in history is a consequence of this distinctive view.

J. Dwight Pentecost, a leading dispensationalist, in his book “Things to Come,”  says that the church is made up of the “heavenly people of God.”   Clarence Larkin, says “The Church is not the old Jewish dispensation in another form.  It is an entirely new thing.   It is not mentioned in the Old Testament, and was unknown by the Old Testament prophets.   It was first revealed by Christ and was future in His day.”  You may be familiar with Clarence Larkin’s as he is one of the first to make all the elaborate end times charts.

Probably the most influential of all the purveyors of dispensationalist doctrine was Cyrus I. Scofield.  In his notes on Romans 11:1 he wrote,“The Christian is of the heavenly seed of Abraham (Gen. 15:5-6; Ga. 3:29), and partakes of the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18), but Israel as a nation always has its own place, and is yet to have its greatest exaltation as the earthly people of God.”

Not only is this position that God has different plans for Israel and the Church theologically dangerous it is also deceitful.   If by “Israel,” they mean national, unbelieving, political Israel, and by “the Church,” they are referencing believers, then obviously we are dealing with two distinct groups of people,  But the historic position of the Church of Jesus Christ has always made this distinction.

Both Scripture and the historic Church teach that all believers in all ages have one God, one Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ.   There is only one way of salvation, and only one eternal destiny.   The believers of all ages are one body and not two.   They are one bride not two.

Secondly, dispensationalism teaches that the church and the church age is a “mystery.”  What they mean when they say this is that there were no Old Testament prophecies about the Church.  You can briefly summarize that position by saying that “prophecy is for Israel.”

I mentioned Clarence Larkin earlier as the guy who drew all the prophecy charts.  One of his drawings  is attached here.  The drawing is called “The Mountain Peaks of Prophecy.”  Larkin says of this drawing, “The Old Testament prophets spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21).  They did not understand what they prophesied.  (1 Peter 1:10-12.)   They believed that their prophecies as Christ were all to be fulfilled as His first coming.  This accounts for why the people of Christ’s day looked for Him to set up a “temporal kingdom.”  They did not see that this dispensation was to intervene between the cross (The sufferings of Christ), and the crown.  (The Glory that should follow) (1 Peter 1:11).  The prophets saw the events they foretold as separate peaks of one great mountain.”

Notice in the drawing there is a large “Valley of the Church,” which none of the prophetic vision is able to glimpse.  According to Larkin, Pentecost, and dispensational theology the Church  is never spoken of in the Old Testament.   Pentecost says, “It is unrevealed in the Old Testament.”

Let me be clear, like their distinctive teaching about Israel and the Church this teaching too is novel.  Scripture and historic Christian teach both contradict this view.   Dispensationalism, identifies the birth of the church at the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, and yet in Acts 3:24 we read “and all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.”

The idea that the Old Testament prophets foresaw nothing of the Church age is not only preposterous, it has done great damage to the church in terms of her mission, and her calling.  If the Old Testament does not speak to the church, then where, and how does the church understand obedience?  Remember we don’t become a kingdom of priests without obedience, and what exactly is it that we are supposed to obey.  According to the dispensationalist more than three fourths’ of the Bible just does not apply.

Star of David

The Question of Israel

“I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3 NKJV

The above verse or variants of this verse are often quoted by well meaning Christians as reasons that we must support Israel. By Israel they are usually speaking of the country in the middle east that was established in 1948. According to this way of thinking, nations rise and fall based on the way they treat this little country. If you dare speak out against this position you are accused of opposing God’s “chosen people.”Star of David

It is my contention that this is not at all what the above passage is about. Modern day Israel, it is assumed, is fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. It is my belief that this confidence is misplaced.

First let’s look at it from just basic human understanding, and then we will go to the Bible. Modern Israel is not in anyway, a godly nation. The vast majority of Jews are atheists, and secularists. The laws of Israel are perhaps the most liberal in the entire region. Yes it may be called the holy land, but in truth the land is distinctively un-holy.

Now let’s look at some Biblical evidence. First off, we have to answer the question what is Israel and how is it used in the Bible? The first appearance of the word Israel occurs in Genesis 32:28. Jacob, the son of Isaac, was returning to his homeland after a long period away. He had left his home because he was in fear for his life at the hand of his brother Esau. Jacob had deceived his father and received the blessing that Isaac thought he was giving to Esau, and Jacob had earlier purchased Esau’s birthright for a bowl of beans. In doing these things Jacob was living up to his name. He was Jacob, a supplanter or a deceiver.

Jacob was convinced that Esau was going to kill him. On his return journey he hears a rumor that Esau is coming, and he is sure that Esau wants to kill him. At night when Jacob is sleeping he is attacked by a ferocious stranger who attacks him and does battle with him. It is likely that Jacob thought it was Esau who was attacking him, and he fought for his life. During this combat the man touches Jacob on his hip and cause great pain and dislocates the hip. Jacob then realizes that this is no ordinary man that he is fighting and hangs on to him asking him for a blessing? The Angel who is combating him asks him a question, and that question is “What is your name?”

Unlike today this is not so simple a question. Names carry with them meaning. They are thought to represent the character of the named. Jacobs name, as we have discussed means supplanter or deceiver. Jacob has spent his whole life living up to his name. And now this Angel is asking Him who he is. Of course the angel already knows this, but it is his intention that Jacob must speak his name. When Jacob does answer it is a form of acknowledgement and repentance and the angel then changes his name. Again going back to the names having meaning, this Angel changes the name of Jacob to Israel which means “Prince with God.” So the deceiver, the supplanter has now been changed, he is now a Prince with God. This name was a spiritual name. It represented Jacob’s victory over a life of deception. He was given a new name, thus he was a new creature.

Israel, who was formerly called Jacob then with his sons moved to Egypt because of a famine in the land of promise. Joseph, as we know, had been sold by his brethren into slavery and had been raised to the position of Prime Minister in Egypt. The only person in all Egypt who had more power than Joseph was Pharoah himself.

What I would like to do is see how the Bible views Israel. Israel is mentioned over 2,500 times in the Bible, so I won’t be able to cover every single reference, but I would like to get an overall picture and see if we can draw some sort of conclusion.

Let’s start with how Israel is viewed in the Old Testament

First Israel is identified as God’s son, and specifically His first born.

These families and people are the literal physical descendants of Israel
Exodus 1:1-7 Now these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt; each man and his household came with Jacob: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy persons (for Joseph was in Egypt already). And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.
Later in the book we see that the entire nation is now referred to as Israel. The Israelites, literally “heirs of Israel,” have now become a nation. And in Exodus 4, the nation is referred to as God’s son and as his first born. Remember the first born is the heir.
Exodus 4:21-23 And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’”
Now who else in the Bible is referred to specifically as God Son, and who is the heir of all the promises of God.

Second, Israel is identified as a vine.

Psalms 80:8 You have brought a vine out of Egypt;
You have cast out the nations, and planted it.

This passage speaks to the fact that God had brought Israel from Egypt and “planted” her in the promised land. There are numerous other references in the Old Testament where Israel is referred to as a vine, or the language of a vineyard is used in referring to Israel.

Hosea 10 speaks of the vine of Israel which is planted in luxury, but that rather than turning to God because of their blessing they further embrace idolatry.

In Isaiah chapter 5 we read the account of the Vineyard. This vineyard was planted to yield grapes, but instead the vineyard yielded wild grapes. Isaiah then details what will happen to this vineyard. It will be dug up and destroyed. In verse 7 Isaiah
identifies the vineyard as Israel.

For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
He looked for justice, but behold, oppression;
For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.

In Ezekiel 15 God speaks regarding the vine that he will make the land desolate.

“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I set My face against them. Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,’ says the Lord GOD.”

Third, we see Israel identified as “The Descendents of Abraham.”

Isaiah 41:8 “But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.

This title “Descendent of Abraham,” is meant to draw our attention to God’s original dealings with Abraham in Genesis 12.

“I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Fourth, Israel is identified as the Servant of God. We have the above verse from Isaiah 41:8 but we also have Isaiah 42:1-3 and Isaiah 49:3.
Isaiah 42:1-3 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.

Isaiag 49:3 “And He said to me,
‘You are My servant, O Israel,
In whom I will be glorified.’

Well by now I would hope we can see where I am going with this.

In the Old Testament Israel is identified as Gods Son, as a vine, as the seed of Abraham, and as God’s servant. True there are other characteristics that Israel is identified with, but I want to take a moment and discuss a basic hermeneutical principle. Hermeneutics is the Science of Interpretation. When reading the Bible there are a few rules that we should follow when reading to make sure we get the proper meaning of the text. One of the most important rules is that we use the New Testament to Interpret the Old. It is very important that we don’t reverse this. The Old Testament is the Shadow the New Testament is the fulfillment.

Jesus told the two men on the road to Emmaus that “these” (the law and the prophets) “are they that speak of me.” It is very important that we understand when reading the Bible, Old and New Testament alike, that it is about Jesus.

With that in mind, how does the New Testament help us understand these Scripture in regard to Israel?

First let us look at Matthew 2:13-15:
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Not only does God refer to Jesus as his son in the following passage, but he also takes the prophecy in Hosea 11:1 which was spoken of the nation of Israel and applies it to Jesus Christ. Christ becomes the fulfillment of the Hosea prophecy. We begins to see that Christ is the new Israel that fulfills the promises to Israel.
In Matthews Gospel, the author goes into great detail to show that Jesus is actually retracing the steps of ancient Israel, showing that he is the fulfillment of these Israel prophecies.
Israel, after leaving Egypt crossed the Red Sea. 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 calls this their Baptism.

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
In Matthew 3, which is right after the account of Jesus Birth and his early life, and his “calling out from Egypt.” We read the account of Jesus Baptism.

After Israel’s baptism at the Red Sea, they then go into the Wilderness for 40 years of wandering and trials. Reading through this account we see that these 40 years are marked by continual murmuring, complaining, and idolatry. After Jesus Baptism in the Jordan he goes into the Wilderness to be tempted of the devil. While there he is tempted three specific times, and in answering each temptation he quotes from the Book of Deuteronomy which is the Book that was given unto Israel while they were in the wilderness.

Israel the nation went to the Mount of God at Sinai where he revealed His Law unto them. Jesus, after his overcoming of the tempter in the wilderness also went to a Mountain. In Matthew 5-7 we read the account of the “Sermon on the Mount.” The sermon on the mount was not an overthrowing of God’s law given on Sinai, but a practical explanation of the law.
We have already seen that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy regarding Israel being God’s Son. In Matthew 12:15-18 we see Jesus specifically fulfilling the prophecies regarding Israel as God’s servant.

But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Yet He warned them not to make Him known, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
And in His name Gentiles will trust.”
Jesus applies the prophecy of the Vine to himself in John 15:1 in a very unique way. Not only does he identify himself as the vine he calls Himself the True vine. The implication is that in contrast to Israel, which became unfaithful and incurred the judgment of God, Jesus remains faithful and thus fulfills Israel’s calling to be the vine of God.

Lastly in Galatians 3 Jesus is identified as the seed of Abraham.
Galatians 3:16-17 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.
As Israel is identified as God’s son so is Jesus. 2 Peter 1:17
As Israel is identifies as the vine, so is Jesus. John 15:1
As Israel is identified as the seed or descendant of Abraham, so is Jesus.Galatians 3:16

Israel was one man and his heirs became a nation, Israel, so to Jesus, the new Israel, is one man and his heirs are also Israel. According to Galatians 3:26-29 if you belong to Christ then you are Abraham’s seed.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

… and Justice For All

As mentioned in the previous post, our Pledge of Allegiance ends with the line, “and liberty and justice for all.”   One of the particularly disturbing aspects of our pledge is that though we learned it in grade school,  most Americans have a warped understanding of liberty and  as we will see today, perhaps even a more warped view of justice.


A basic definition of justice is “the act of being just or fair.”   This definition is lacking in that it does not deal with the question of what is just nor of what is fair.     Justice, you see, must be defined in terms of a system of ethics.


It should be obvious, but the ethics taught by Jesus and the Bible are very different from the ethics espoused by most moderns.   Since that is true, the justice that the Bible demands must be very different from modern conceptions of justice.   A prime example of this can be seen in the recent debates and discussion over same sex marriage.  It has been claimed over and over by certain individuals that this issue of same sex marriage is an issue of equal justice for all.

Marriage is perhaps the oldest institution known to mankind.   Marriage was established in the 2nd Chapter of Genesis:

22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

God established marriage, and in doing that He also defined marriage.   Marriage is the joining of a man and a woman and the two becoming one flesh.   The idea that two men can marry one another, or two women can marry one another is not an expansion of marriage, but a perversion.    Any society that perverts God’s law must also of necessity pervert God’s justice.

Now I can see and understand how unbelieving pagans would try and make this issue about justice, but what really is disturbing is when professed believers make the same claim.   It becomes apparent that their view of justice has been shaped more by the world than by the Word of God!

True justice, at least according to the Bible, is not possible when God’s law is rejected as the standard for a people.   We live in a society that see’s injustice everywhere.   This is not by accident.   Two thousand years ago an angry mob in Jerusalem had justice standing in their very midst and cried out, “We will not have this man to rule over us.”  We may look aghast at them, but in a very real sense we have done the same thing in our churches and in our nation when we disregard the law of God in exchange it for natural law or so called common sense.   Every law system has a different view of justice.

The justice that is brought about by a society that embraces same sex marriage and the justice that brings about reconciliation with Christ the King are two different justices.   When we say and justice for all we must make sure we identify whose justice we are seeking.


The Pledge of Allegiance ends with the words, “with liberty and justice for all.”   Most Americans learned their pledge while they were very young. In a very real sense we can say we were catechized with this American idea and concept of liberty. Is this notion of liberty the same as liberty when spoken of in the Scriptures?

In John  8  Jesus is speaking to the Jews who are under some sort of  illusion that they are free.

 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free?’ ”Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

I think we learn a few things about freedom in this discourse that are foreign to most Americans.

First, Freedom comes from knowledge of the truth.  These opponents of Christ were wrapped up in traditions and ideas that they were deeply invested in, and they believed very strongly that they were free.   And yet Jesus tells them very plainly that they are in fact in bondage.

The notion that they were a free people is actually rather comical.   Perhaps while they were speaking their Roman occupiers were also listening to their discourse.    Can you imagine the Roman soldiers reaction to the statement,  “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone?”  Further more, it only takes a cursory reading of the Old Testament to realize that their forefathers were a people who tended to move from bondage to bondage, Jesus tells them very plainly that the key to becoming free is to abide in His Word.   To abide in the Word of God is to place our trust in Him.

Secondly, in this passage enslavement and sin seem to be very closely related. A people who are ignorant of the truth of the Word of God are not only enslaved to sn, but they are also essentially open to every other kind of deceit and enslavement.  There are countless examples of this throughout the history of the World.    Nations and people have often been ensnared by charlatans and hucksters who prey upon the ignorance of their victims.

Hosea 4:6 Says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,”   The knowledge that is being talked about here is clearly the Knowledge of the Word of God.   When people are equipped with God’s Word and the Truth that comes from it, then all chains of bondage necessarily slip away.

Perhaps the worst kind of bondage is the bondage of the mind.   There is nothing more alarming, than a people who believe they are free, but in actuality they are
deeply enslaved.   I believe that this is the bondage that we “free Americans” suffer from the most.   America’s early founders were men who had a deep and abiding knowledge of God’s Word and what it had to say about actual liberty.   I think we have used the language of liberty and actually forgotten what it actually means.  We are now living on the borrowed capital of these actual students of liberty.

The Bible says that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.   We can infer from this that where the Spirit of the Lord is not there is bondage.   I do believe America is still more free than most nations that have risen and fallen, but we are losing freedoms everyday, and we seem oblivious to it.   As we have embraced the God’s of pluralism and the ideas that freedom can come from anywhere outside God’s word, we move further and further away from true freedom.  As a people forget God their first loss is usually liberty.

Perhaps it would also be interesting to see how we deal with the subject of justice.