Ithelak

Ithelak

This is a global map of Ithelak that includes most of the main cities and fortresses.

In following posts I will probably be talking about several geographical, historical, and cultural background sub-creational bits about Ithelak, so I thought that it would be useful for me to post the main map first. Click on the map to view it full-size. Most of the geographical features are named using the Gianas system. Have fun exploring! Almost every location on that map has a history to it.

A Biblical View of Rights

This is a Bible study that I did for Liberty’s Light Forum.

Greetings,

I wanted to start saying what I think, but I decided to do a Bible study on how the Bible views the concept of ‘rights,’ in context with how the Founding Fathers viewed them. My results were very interesting and fascinating. God’s Word is indeed a treasure trove!

First off, I want to point out what I mean when I use the word ‘right’ in this context. The word has many different meanings and applications depending on context.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary in its 5th definition of ‘right’ in its noun form: Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession and enjoyment. In hereditary monarchies, a right to the throne vests in the heir on the decease of the king. A deed vests the right of possession in the purchaser of land. Right and possession are very different things. We often have occasion to demand and sue for rights not in possession.

In simple, a ‘right’ is the noun of the adjective ‘right.’ Meaning that which it is right to do or have, and which it is wrong for someone to stop you from doing or having. Basically: a liberty.

But is this concept found in the Bible? Or is the idea of ‘rights’ only a modern semantic fallacy, and should be replaced with some other term like ‘responsibility.’ Surprisingly, when the Declaration of Independence stated that we “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” the Founders were squarely resting on the Bible.

There are several words in both the Greek and Hebrew that mean ‘right,’ which are translated as ‘right,’ and used in the same way that the Founding Fathers used the term ‘right’ in the Declaration of Independence. But I will only go into two of them.

Strongs Hebrew 4941
mishpat — mish-pawt’ — from 8199; properly, a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or [participant’s] divine law, individual or collective), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly, justice, including a participant’s right or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style: — + adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just(-ice, -ly), (manner of) law(-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.

Many different applications of the word is used, but we can notice a couple things. 1) It is talking about a civil magisterial context and 2) it uses the terms ‘right’ and privilege’ in the definition. This is a civil liberty, as I stated above. A liberty which is to be recognized by the civil magistrate. A right.

This is used and translated in this sense many times.

Deuteronomy 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated [for] the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he [is] the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn [is] his.

Psalms 9:4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.

Psalms 140:12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, [and] the right of the poor.

Isaiah 10:2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and [that] they may rob the fatherless!

Jeremiah 5:28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

Jeremiah 32:7 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that [is] in Anathoth: for the right of redemption [is] thine to buy [it.]

Jeremiah 32:8 So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that [is] in Anathoth, which [is] in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance [is] thine, and the redemption [is] thine; buy [it] for thyself. Then I knew that this [was] the word of the LORD.

Ezekiel 21:27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no [more,] until he come whose right it is; and I will give it [him.]

Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in [his] wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger [from his right,] and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

Now for the Greek word that I will study:

Strongs Greek 1849
exousia — ex-oo-see’-ah — from 1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: — authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.

This is even more clear in its delineation of a ‘right’ as a ‘liberty.’ It is translated as ‘right,’ ‘liberty,’ ‘power,’ and ‘authority.’ in the following selection of verses. Very clear.

Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

Acts 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Luke 20:2 And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?

Now I want to clarify some things about how we ought to view our rights. There is a popular sermon among preachers that condemns the modern concept of rights and the constant griping about our ‘rights being infringed.’ Some preachers even go so far as to say that the whole concept of rights is wrong. This conclusion is obviously wrong as I have shown. But how should we view them?

Matthew 5:38-47 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others?] do not even the publicans so?

Romans 12:17-21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

These two passages make it very clear that we ought not, as Christians to try to defend our own rights. We ought to suffer for Christ, and not complain, and show that our peace transcends our circumstances. However Romans 12:19, quoted above, gives us a clue about what place our rights ought to have. We must leave our rights up to God: but what then?

Romans 13:1-5 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

The civil government is God’s minister to do the avenging that is mentioned in the previous passage! So it is the government’s responsibility to defend our rights (by punishing those who attack them, I.e. punish crime). So if we are a civil magistrate, or if we are discussing civil magistrates, we need to be discussing our rights. That is when we should be discussing our rights. Responsibility is the right term to use when looking at the government’s end of things: it is their responsibility to defend our rights, but rights is the right term to use as well when you are discussing our end of the government.

I hope that that assists us in semantic clarity.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

Review: The Widow's Might

thewidowsmightbanner

My family downloaded this movie off of Behemoth after we heard on the Rebelution blog about it winning the SAICFF. We were blown away, as we have heard many others have been as well, by the amazing quality and message of this film. Made by homeschoolers, who are also rebelutionaries, I am very pleased with the good work that they have done.

Our whole family, from the 4-yr-old twin girls, to my parents, enjoyed the Widow’s Might. We loved the message, the acting, the singing, the cinematography, the plot, everything. It amazed me how they were able to have an action-adventure movie, comedy, and heart-wrenching romanticism all in the same movie, but they did.

I highly recommend this movie to all interested, and all who are uninterested as well!

The Official Widow’s Might Website

Socialism vs. Communism

Communism: A form of socialism that abolishes private ownership; a political theory favoring collectivism in a classless society.

Socialism: A political theory advocating state ownership of industry; an economic system based on state ownership of capital. (from wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)

These are two very good definitions of socialism and communism. People have twisted the ideas of communism and socialism to hide their true faces from the public, whom they hope to seduce into slavery with both of these political traps. Communism is portrayed (though not always by that name) as perfect equality. Socialism is portrayed (though not always by that name) as government protecting and helping you because it can do it better than you. Meaning that it is superior to you. Which is different from what they say communism is, in fact, quite the opposite. They seem incompatible. But they are inseperable.

Imagine a classroom in which the teacher gives to every student the same grade, regardless of how they did on the test. That is communistic socialism. There is perceived equality, but notice that the teacher is separate from the class: socialism. The difference between socialism and communism is mostly just focus. Communism is the students each getting equal grades; socialism is the teacher overstepping his bounds and arbitrarily controlling the grades to match what he wants. Both are bad situations.

Watch out for sophistry. Especially in semantics.

Truth

What They Said

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TRUTH, n.
1. Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. The truth of history constitutes its whole value. We rely on the truth of the scriptural prophecies.
My mouth shall speak truth. Prov 8.
Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. John 17.
2. True state of facts or things. The duty of a court of justice is to discover the truth. Witnesses are sworn to declare the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3. Conformity of words to thoughts, which is called moral truth.
Shall truth fail to keep her word?
4. Veracity; purity from falsehood; practice of speaking truth; habitual disposition to speak truth; as when we say, a man is a man of truth.
5. Correct opinion.
6. Fidelity; constancy.
The thoughts of past pleasure and truth.
7. Honesty; virtue.
It must appear
That malice bears down truth.
8. Exactness; conformity to rule.
Plows, to go true, depend much on the truth of the iron work. [Not in use.]
9. Real fact of just principle; real state of things. There are innumerable truths with which we are not acquainted.
10. Sincerity.
God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4.
11. The truth of God, is his veracity and faithfulness. Psa 71.
Or his revealed will.
I have walked in thy truth. Psa 26.
12. Jesus Christ is called the truth. John 14.
13. It is sometimes used by way of concession.
She said, truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crums– Mat 15.
That is, it is a truth; what you have said, I admit to be true.
In truth, in reality; in fact.
Of a truth, in reality; certainly.
To do truth, is to practice what God commands. John 3.

What They Say Now

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Social Constructivism

Social constructivism holds that truth is constructed by social processes, is historically and culturally specific, and that it is in part shaped through the power struggles within a community. Constructivism views all of our knowledge as “constructed,” because it does not reflect any external “transcendent” realities (as a pure correspondence theory might hold). Rather, perceptions of truth are viewed as contingent on convention, human perception, and social experience. It is believed by constructivists that representations of physical and biological reality, including race, sexuality, and gender are socially constructed. Giambattista Vico was among the first to claim that history and culture were man-made. Vico’s epistemological orientation gathers the most diverse rays and unfolds in one axiom–verum ipsum factum–“truth itself is constructed.” Hegel, Garns, and Marx were among the other early proponents of the premise that truth is socially constructed.

Consensus Theory
Consensus theory holds that truth is whatever is agreed upon, or in some versions, might come to be agreed upon, by some specified group. Such a group might include all human beings, or a subset thereof consisting of more than one person.

What I Say

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Many nowadays claim that there is no absolute truth, that truth is whatever we make it out to be. People mock when a person claims to really believe something. Belief itself is mocked. It is rare to find a person who has a fundamental axiom, knows it, and applies that axiom to all of life. People do not have cohesive lifestyles: they just do what they want or what feels good. They hate people who try to put boundaries on actions. What they do not realize is that they cannot escape what they hate most: for they themselves have an Absolute Truth which they never question. This axiom that they hold is this: nothing is certain, except for the fact that nothing is certain. Their own axiom is a self contradiction! As well as unfounded, unwarranted, useless, purposeless, and harmful.

Truth is something that is beyond us. It is outside of our reach or influence; if it was, it would not be truth. No man can change what is true, because tehn man would be above truth, and able to decide truth. Man cannot do this, for man is a created being that cannot even sustain itself. Truth was there before man was. Truth is God, and nothing else.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Knights of the Un-Dead Kingdom

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Romans 6
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The world is dead, but we are alive in Christ. He it is who liveth, and was dead; and, behold, He is alive for evermore, Amen; and has the keys of hell and of death (Rev. 1:18).We died with Him, and He died for us. We have no part in the Second Death, and are alive forevermore. We are here to combat death’s hold on the world and on us. We are bound to the body of death, yet we are not bound to its acts. We have victory, for we live in the Light of the Life of men (John 1:-14). He is our victory, and He is our strength. We are knights of his Kingdom: that is made without hands; that is not of this world; that is stronger than all evil; that has triumphed and will triumph. We are not dead, but we have been dead; and we reach out to our brothers who are dead, that we might show them Life.

Romans 8

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Faith

What They Said Then

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FAITH, n. [L. fides, fido, to trust; Gr. to persuade, to draw towards any thing, to conciliate; to believe, to obey. In the Greek Lexicon of Hederic it is said, the primitive signification of the verb is to bind and draw or lead, as signifies a rope or cable. But this remark is a little incorrect. The sense of the verb, from which that of rope and binding is derived, is to strain, to draw, and thus to bind or make fast. A rope or cable is that which makes fast. Heb.]
1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth. I have strong faith or no faith in the testimony of a witness, or in what a historian narrates.
2. The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition advanced by another; belief, or probable evidence of any kind.
3. In theology, the assent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and of the existence, character and doctrines of Christ, founded on the testimony of the sacred writers, is called historical or speculative faith; a faith little distinguished from the belief of the existence and achievements of Alexander or of Cesar.
4. Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is the assent of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God’s testimony, accompanied with a cordial assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God’s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God’s testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.
Being justified by faith. Rom 5.
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb 11.
For we walk by faith, and not by sight. 2 Cor 5.
With the heart man believeth to righteousness. Rom 10.
The faith of the gospel is that emotion of the mind, which is called trust or confidence, exercised towards the moral character of God, and particularly of the Savior.
Faith is an affectionate practical confidence in the testimony of God.
Faith is an affectionate practical confidence in the testimony of God.
Faith is a firm, cordial belief in the veracity of God, in all the declarations of his word; or a full and affectionate confidence in the certainty of those things which God has declared, and because he has declared them.
5. The object of belief; a doctrine or system of doctrines believed; a system of revealed truths received by christians.
They heard only, that he who persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. Gal 1.
6. The promises of God, or his truth and faithfulness.
shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? Rom 3.
7. An open profession of gospel truth.
Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Rom 1.
8. A persuasion or belief of the lawfulness of things indifferent.
Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Rom 14.
9. Faithfulness; fidelity; a strict adherence to duty and fulfillment of promises.
Her failing, while her faith to me remains, I would conceal.
Children in whom is no faith. Deu 32.
10. Word or honor pledged; promise given; fidelity. He violated his plighted faith.
For you alone I broke my faith with injured Palamon.
11. Sincerity; honesty; veracity; faithfulness. We ought in good faith, to fulfill all our engagements.
12. Credibility or truth. Unusual.]
The faith of the foregoing narrative.

What They Say Now

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faith (fth)
n.
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.

(got from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faith)

What I Say

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Webster’s definition is much better. It is closer to the Greek word for faith used in the Bible than the modern definition.

Strongs Greek 4102
pistis — pis’-tis — from 3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: — assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

We are not followers of a “blind faith” as some would have us believe. Faith requires an intellectual assent as well as a heart reliance. If you do not have both, it is not faith. This is important, for as Webster quoted, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him:] for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).

Notice the Greek definition for the word “believe” in the above verse:

Strongs Greek 4100
pisteuo — pist-yoo’-o — from 4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ): — believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.

Again, both intellectual and heart consent and trust. We need to stop telling the people that we witness to, “You need to just take it by faith” when they ask us a question about why we believe even though “science” has “disproved” the Bible. We need to give answers and glorify the truth of God; and show that He is trustworthy to them. We cannot convince a man into believing, but we need to answer his questions, or show him where to find answers.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

The Bible and Crime

Greetings,

The Bible is my sole authority in these matters and everything must be Scripturally backed up. I am still in progress of a topical Bible study of the New Testament (hereafter designated NT) as it teaches on the nature of Scripture, the nature of the Old Testament (OT) and NT change that took place, the nature of crime, and the nature of government. I have gone through Matthew and John, and am going through Acts right now. I have also, in conjunction, been studying various passages that speak directly on government. There is a multitude of relevant Scriptures in the NT; much more than I realized.

What I am going to do first in this article is expound and exegete on at least three main passages in the NT, showing their meaning scripturally (in both the English and the Greek). I will then give several more passages and verses throughout the Bible which lend contextual support to these verses, and which assist in applying the principles found. I will apply these principles to the OT laws in the Pentateuch. Then I will then describe in summary what the principles are that we have found as well as what we need to do further research on. Assistance and support is welcome.

Romans 13:1-6

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.

5 Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

This is an obvious passage to study. And it has much insight at first glance, but the deeper I probe into its meaning, the more startling and profound are its revelations. Notice first of all the use of the word "evil" in the 3rd and 4th verses. This is a key word, yet the Greek simply uses just as broad a term as the English. We know that the purpose of government is, obviously, not to punish all evil. So we must determine the type of evil it is referring to from the context. Notice that there were not chapter headings in the original Greek, and so let us look at the preceding passage in Romans 12:

Romans 12:17-21

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Notice verse 17’s use of the word "evil." It is the same word as used in 13:3 & 4. This passage gives us a clear definition contextually for the type of evil the civil magistrate is to punish with its sword: evil towards others. This is clearly a "horizontal" relationship passage, discussing how we ought to deal with our neighbors’ hurting us. We are not to avenge ourselves against wrongs done to us. This is clear. Notice how verse 19 directly pertains to our passage 13:1-6. We are not to avenge ourselves against wrongs done to us because that is God’s job. We are to leave that to Him. Notice the phrase used "vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." Now notice verse 4 of ch. 13: "he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil." The civil magistrate is God’s delegated servant to execute vengeance on what you would otherwise have executed vengeance on: wrongs done to you.

In support of this further, notice how the word "evil" is used in both cases in ch. 13: "…not a terror to good works, but to the evil", "if thou do that which is evil" and "…wrath upon him that doeth evil." These three words (works, do, and doeth) in the Greek and English all refer specifically to actions done outwardly, and the surrounding context declares that these outward actions are specifically against another person.

1 Peter 2:13-14

13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

A smaller passage, but just as meaningful. This clearly outlines the purpose of the civil magistrate: to punish evil-doers and praise well-doers. Notice the word "evildoers." It means (in the Greek) injurious, specifically. Its roots and other forms also mean injurious. It also implies or requires that its meaning includes injurious to others. So we have again what we had in Romans 12 & 13: crime (sins punishable by the civil magistrate) is an action that is injurious to other people.

1 Thess. 4:3-6

3 For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

6 That no [man] go beyond and defraud his brother in [any] matter: because that the Lord [is] the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

This passage’s context is discussing specifically our behavior toward God and our walk of holiness and sanctification before Him. Then it contrasts this with a result of what happens if you fail to keep yourself pure. Notice where this happens in verse 6, "That no [man] go beyond and defraud his brother in [any] matter: because that the Lord [is] the avenger of all such." Notice the word "avenger" is the same as in Romans 13, where we learned that the civil magistrate is God’s agent in carrying out just punishment on crime (avenge). This verse defines crime! "That no [man] go beyond and defraud his brother in [any] matter: because that the Lord [is] the avenger of all such" So what does it mean to "go beyond" and "defraud"? Just what it says. The Greek in fact refers to an infraction of private property and person in both of these two words. Again we have a separation between sin against God and crime against Man. There is also support for private property and person (life) from this passage.

I want to point out now that every sin is against God. This is evidenced by David’s cry in Psalm 51:4. But there are some sins that are particularly against man, and others that have practically nothing to do with man. That is the distinction.

Here are several verses that give support to this definition of crime and add to it.

Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.

Notice that this is in the same context with Romans 12:17-21, 13:1-6.

Luke 3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse [any] falsely; and be content with your wages.

The specific duty of the civil magistrate is to not commit the very crimes that he must punish. The phrase “do violence” implies roughing up or intimidating: threatening.

1 Samuel 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.

The judge referred to is the civil magistrate slice of the Israel government. Notice the contrast between sins against God and sins against man.

Matthew 5:25-26 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Another principle of crime: it must be brought to the civil magistrate before it is in the civil magistrate’s jurisdiction.

Matthew 5:38-42 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloak also.

41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

“An eye for an eye” and etc. were commands given to the civil magistrate in the OT, valid guides. This gives the same lesson as Romans 12:17-21, which is that “eye for an eye” avenging is the civil magistrate’s duty, not ours. Notice also that the sins listed are also crimes: against fellow men.

Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16 But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.

A nice progression of jurisdictions listed. An interesting thing is what you notice if you cross-reference this passage with 1 Cor. 6:1-8. Once a person is a “heathen man and a publican” to you it is the civil magistrate’s jurisdiction. This also again reinforces the fact that crime must be brought to the civil magistrate for it to be in his jurisdiction.

Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is,] God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and [thy] mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Jesus only gives those commands that deal with sins against your fellow men. This division is repeated many times, one of which occurs in Romans 13.

Matthew 22:36 Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

God’s law is divided into two sections: horizontal (towards our fellow men) and vertical (towards God alone). This is reinforced here.

John 18:29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?

30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.

The Pharisees are trying to convince Pilate that the case is in his jurisdiction as civil magistrate. Although the Roman government was corrupt, it still tried to hold somewhat to their rightful role as civil magistrate (Acts 18:12-16).

1 Samuel 12:3 Behold, here I [am:] witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received [any] bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.

14 And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand.

15 And he said unto them, The LORD [is] witness against you, and his anointed [is] witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, [He is] witness.

Notice that he is iterating his innocence of crimes. He is talking about how he did as a civil magistrate.

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

The verse that institutes the office of civil magistrate in the first place describes crime as well: injurious to your fellow man.

Now this is the office of civil magistrate: to punish crime (which is an action or inaction that is injurious to another person and that is brought to the civil magistrate by the injured) and to praise righteousness. This is the Bible’s definition, and mine.

Now to apply this to the OT law. Our definition of crime eliminates many things that were sins in the OT that were punished as crimes, such as blasphemy and idolatry. These two are not ceremonial laws, but they are not crimes any more in the NT covenant and in the current office of civil magistrate. Why the difference? Now we get into another Bible study.

THEOC’RACY, n. [Gr. God, and power; to hold.] Government of a state by the immediate direction of God; or the state thus governed. Of this species the Israelites furnish an illustrious example. The theocracy lasted till the time of Saul.

That is our definition of theocracy. A government in which God plays a direct and active part in the ruling of. This is different from now, as will be shown.

I was going to try to list all of the times that God intervened directly on behalf of Israel either by a miracle, or by a sign given to them to follow, or by a direct guiding command, throughout all of Israel’s existence, but I found that I would be reprinting most of the OT from the Pentateuch all the way through to 2 Chronicles. There are many many verses giving direct support to this, though. God used prophets, visions, signs, miracles, direct guidance by voice or by presence, Urim and Thummim, and etc. throughout the days of Moses, the judges, and even into the reigns of the kings. David used the ephod (which was used as a miraculous oracle by which priests communicated directly with God) even before he was crowned king. The judges were moved by the Spirit of God and by direct verbal commands. The prophets gave military and civil counsel from the mouth of God to any king who would listen. Battles were planned by the mouth of God, as well as national cleansing, and rebuilding of the temple at various times. God had direct authority over Israel at all times that it was obedient to Him. When it rebelled, He gave it over into the hands of oppressors to teach them. This is the very definition of Theocracy, and it cannot be done today.

This is because Israel was a special nation, set apart from all others, and it cannot be repeated by us at our will. This is because God made Himself direct ruler of Israel. Man cannot force God into office. Only God has the ability to put Himself into direct office in the government, and He only did this in the case of Israel. Although it contained all that was necessary for a good civil government (it punished crime and praised well-doers), it also had many laws that were treated as crimes that cannot be treated as crimes today. Israel had many ceremonial laws, shadows of things to come (which were fulfilled by Christ’s death), but it also included functions of the church. So it included vertical sins as crimes, which it could do since it was a theocracy. God held a direct office in the government, and thus, these sins were offenses to the King of the nation. This is only possible in a theocracy. Our civil magistrates are the ministers of God in their office, not God Himself, as He was in Israel. Thus, these laws no longer apply to civil government’s jurisdiction. Vertical sins are still the jurisdiction of the Church, but the Church is no longer a part of the national government.

There is another thing that needs to be taken into account in defense of our limited definition of NT crime. Israel was a holy nation, set apart, so there were things that were not ceremonial and which they had to treat as crimes. But they are not now. God judges nations, and there are certain things which, if a nation embraces, He punishes. He either gives them over to oppression or exterminates them. These things are still operative today, and the result of a nation embracing them can still be observed in history. In Israel, these actions obviously had to be criminalized, but they cannot be now, even though the are still grievous sins. These are clearly labeled in the OT law: they are signaled by God defining its punishment as "to be cut off" and the reason for the law including the fact that the "nations before you" were destroyed because of it. These include adultery and similar sins like idolatry, etc. These ought to be handled differently than the other laws in the OT.

So all we have left (other than the obvious crimes like murder and theft) that need to be decided are four laws: cursing father or mother; striking father or mother; rebelling against father and mother; and adultery against another man’s wife (some of the laws dealing with adultery no longer apply since multiple wives is wrong anyways now).

I am inclined to think that adultery (the actual act) is a crime in the NT covenant criminal law.

I am also inclined to think that the other three are not. The reason being that, because Israel was a special nation, the "honor your father and your mother" commandment was more serious than otherwise.

An interesting note which might shed some light on the rebellious son law is that records show that no one ever used it. Ever. Everyone opted to not bring their son before the judge no matter how rebellious he was. This speaks volumes to us when we realize that the only one who did not spare His Son was God the Father, sacrificing His sinless Son for us. What we could not bring ourselves to do, He did for us. This lends an idea of a possible ceremonial element to this law, which might help us in determining its criminality now.

I hope that this helps. Let me know what you think.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Democracy

What They Said

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DEMOCRACY, n. [Gr. People, and to possess, to govern.] Government by the people; a form of government, in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the people collectively, or in which the people exercise the powers of legislation. Such was the government of Athens.

“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
–John Adams, letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814

“The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.”
–Fisher Ames, speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, January 15, 1788

A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of “direct” expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic – negating property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Results in demagogosm, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.

-United States Army Training Manual No. 2000-25, 1928, p. 91.

Exodus 23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to [do] evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest [judgment:]

What They Say Now

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Because the United Sates is a democracy, the majority of the people decide how our government will be organized and run – and that includes the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The people do this by electing representatives, and these men and women then carry out the wishes of the people.

The Soldiers Guide, Department of the Army Field Manual, FM 21-13, June 1952, p. 69.
(these last two definitions were derived from “Foundations of Liberty: Our Glorious Republic” by the East Moline Christian School)

“A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them” – wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

“The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed.” – G.K. Chesterton

What I Say

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There is quite a difference between our current day’s idea of democracy and the Founding Father’s idea of democracy. America is a Republic, not a democracy. We ought to strive to keep it that way. The sophistry of politically-correctness has permeated and destroyed much of our English language. We need to stand up for the right definitions of words, or be buried in endless debates of semantics.

Noah Webster and His 1828 Dictionary

Noah Webster and His 1828 Dictionary

“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.”

“All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

“The Bible must be considered as the great source of all the truth by which men are to be guided in government as well as in all social transactions.”

“The Bible is the Chief moral cause of all that is good, and the best corrector of all that is evil, in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men, and the only book that can serve as an infallible guide.”

“The principles of genuine liberty, and of wise laws and administrations, are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man, therefore, who weakens or destroys the divine authority of that Book may be accessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer.”

“It is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.”

Quotes got from Thinkexist.com

These are all quotes from Noah Webster, one of the American Founding Fathers, and a devout Christian. His 1828 American Dictionary contained the greatest number of Biblical definitions given in any reference volume. He considered education “useless without the Bible”. He included the Bible in his researches for his definitions, unlike the modern dictionary makers with humanistic presuppositions. Webster claimed to have learned 20 different languages in finding definitions for which a particular word is used. All in all, I consider his 1828 dictionary to be one of the greatest literary works of America’s creation.

In addition to this, Webster was an active political leader in the Revolutionary war, and wrote many volumes of books and articles in that cause. He, with the other great founders, believed the Bible to be the ultimate source of authority, especially in the creating of a nation. This was the foundation for his political views. His 1828 dictionary reflected his vast political and biblical understanding, and is a powerful tool for any modern defender of liberty’s library. Thankfully, his 1828 dictionary and its 1913 revision are both public domain, and so are easily accessible on the web.

I use his dictionary as my standard in my biblical studies of government, as modern dictionaries are quite inadequate for my purpose. It is an invaluable aid in my quest for the truth about God’s desire for government systems. I will try to do an article on a word and its definition from his 1828 dictionary every day or so on this blog. So stay looking!