Every year about this time, I find myself thinking about the miracle of how a bunch of different men, with varied religious backgrounds, and a history of some fairly significant disagreements, managed to come together and “walk in unity” – unanimously, even – in order to literally pledge, and risk, “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” over an idea:
that we are “endowed by our Creator” with Rights, which come not from any earthly government of man, but from Him alone.
That there is a “Law” which has been given to us by the Supreme Legislator of the Universe. And that “to secure these Rights, governments are instituted among men”.
And isn’t it “funny”, in hindsight, that the fact that there IS a God — that He created us — is so undeniable that it goes without saying? After all, the “self-evident Truths” involve the fact that He GAVE us Rights, and that those Rights therefore cannot be “aliened” by any government of fallen men; of COURSE He has to exist in order to do that!
There is no doubt that there were differences among those men in their “doctrines”, their interpretation of Scripture, and arguably even in how they perceived Who that Creator was, and what He had Written meant to them. But they were able to agree on what was written there in spite of them. The major points were just, well, obvious.
They were able to walk together in agreement because they held that certain Truths were “self-evident”. Undeniable. So important, as a matter of fact, that everyone who signed the document, and pledged “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” was willing to die for them. The crime of treason, which they knew their signatures on that document meant, carried the death penalty.
After studying the history of that period of time, and the incredible obstacles presented by the requirement for a unanimous agreement to declare those thirteen colonies independent of a despotic monarch, I am personally persuaded that they had, shall we say, Help in working out those differences. Nevertheless, the principles that they set forth in that document served to outline the legal basis for the government that was to follow. As such, I have long considered the Declaration of Independence to be the greatest document ever written originally in the English language.
But the disappointing fact is that so many “Truths….” once held to be “…self-evident” are now not only ignored but denied by so many people. This is really not surprising at all, given the disdain of so many today for the Word of YHVH. If a ‘government’ refuses to even acknowledge now that He EXISTS, how can it admit that His authority is superior to theirs? And a people who attempt to deny what has been Written by the Hand of the Creator Himself, can certainly show equal or greater contempt for all other so-called “law” as well. A “living constitution” is no law at all…unless enforced at the barrel of a gun…by those ALLOWED to have the guns, today. And, of course, it no longer means what it SAYS it means, in actual writing; it means what THEY say is was supposed to mean.
Many of us, who have ‘come out of’ what Scripture repeatedly calls the “whore” — a system, or a ‘church’, which puts other “mighty ones”, other gods, or “elohim”, in his place, have become frustrated at the refusal of ‘the world’ to see what we see. After we begin to study, it seems obvious that He never changed His Sabbaths. When He says, “I change NOT” (Malachi 3:6), or that He is the same “yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8) and “came not to change one yod or tiddle” of His own torah (instruction) so long as “heaven and earth” still exist, we know what that means. Pieces begin to fall into place. He didn’t change our bodies, either…what He said was “food” is STILL food, and what was not is still not…men are still men, women remain women, and His instruction about marriage still applies, too — just as it has since He Wrote it down for us.
We might think some of those things are self-evident. But the Truth remains that He Wrote it down for us for a reason. Fallen men lie. They change the meaning of words. They “add to” and “subtract from” what is Written — in spite of His commandments to the contrary.
The Founders understood Scripture. History records that the single most quoted work, most referenced book among ALL of the history and texts referenced during the Revolutionary period, the letters of the “Committees of Correspondence”, and the debates leading up to the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation, and later the Constitution, was the Book of Deuteronomy.
Neither the English “Common Law” (referenced directly in the Constitution) nor the references to God in the Declaration of Independence can be understood completely outside of a Biblical context. Note, for example, that there are precisely THREE additional references to Him in the Declaration, outside of the use of the “Creator”: He is the “Supreme Judge of the world”, the Legislator, who gave us the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”, and the King, or Protector, called “Divine Providence”. How many people who now try to deny that ALL subsequent law in these formerly-united States is based on the principles outlined in the Declaration are ignorant of the fact that those three references come directly from Isaiah 33:22? The King James version of that verse says, “For the LORD is our Judge, The LORD is our Lawgiver, The LORD is our King; He will save us.” And from that specific set of references, added during the debates over the document itself, forms the basis for what is known as the “separation of powers”. The Founders knew and agreed that man was fallen, and would seek to acquire power over time. “In His hands ONLY”, they agreed, could such powers be combined!
We can take several lessons from things which are rarely still talked about, but vitally important, at this time of the year. Law is Written down for us for a reason! Even things that might once have been “self-evident” can become twisted over time by fallen men, and the deceit of the Adversary. And it IS still possible to “walk in agreement”, even unanimously, when we are willing to trust and be led by Him…our Judge, our Lawgiver, and our King. He WILL save us, just as He promises.
Finally, there is a message as well for those of us who have been frustrated by not being able to “get through” to some of our friends or family…who don’t seem to want to read the Bible like the Bereans…as it is Written. Sometimes a different approach can make a difference. If you can’t get people to read the Bible with you most of the time, try this: See if you can get them to read just the first couple of paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, just this once, during this time. Perhaps they’ll see the point that way, and it will eventually get to be “self-evident” that it is True.