A devotion for 7 August 2019 Anno Domini
The Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
Luke 22:35-38 (KJV)
During the days prior to the American Revolution, the colonists were treated harshly by the offending sovereign of England. They had no vote in Parliament, and no recourse to the penalizing policies in taxation as well as personal liberties with which they were assailed. Finally, their grievances reached the boiling point. All dialogue with the English monarch and government failed them. There was only one resort to an ungodly and unfair governance – a resort to arms. But from whence could these arms be acquired? Fortunately, every home possessed at least one firearm and perhaps much more than that. The American Revolution was begun by a well-armed populace whose convictions in faith and liberty stood behind the muzzles of their flint lock rifles. Had the colonists not possessed the means of exerting their rights over an incorrigible and reluctant nation of immense resources, the American people would never have been successful in gaining their freedoms.
The Founding document of the Thirteen Colonies (later the United States of America) was the Declaration of Independence which clearly proclaimed that the rights of man descend from God and not Caesar. This was a new concept of government exceeding in biblical clarity any such claim of the Divine Rights of Kings and potentates. It was a Godly claim that required the support of an armed citizenry if they were to breathe free. From the days of its primitive inception, the battle for American Liberty and Independence was founded upon the Godly and Christian principles of a Providential Hand that led them to gain that liberty for which our Lord sacrificed to purchase for all.
Later, with the adoption of our second major document of our foundation – the U.S. Constitution – more guarantees for the citizen were felt essential for the preservation of those liberties for which our fore fathers bled and died. Those guarantees were incorporated into ten amendments call the Bill of Rights and written by James Madison which were approved by the first congress in 1789.
The first Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The sentiments expressed in the First Amendment have been turned upon their heads by a rogue and radical Supreme Court that has exceeded its purpose in interpreting the US Constitution and have, instead, ventured to become a legislative body in actually making law by false interpretation. Bible reading, prayer or the display of the Ten Commandments are not addressed by the Constitution, however, these black-robed tyrants have ruled these unconstitutional in every public or government setting. If Congress can “make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” then who made the law which the Supreme Court is interpreting?
An important concluding amendment to the Bill of Rights is the Tenth Amendment which reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It appears since no mention is made in the US Constitution of Gay Marriage, Abortion, or Bible Reading & Prayer, perhaps those should be left to the states, or the to the people, as outlined in this last amendment of the Bill of Rights.
Now, perhaps the most important article to the preservation of the other nine amendments of the Bill of Rights is the Second Amendment which provides power and force of the people to defend the other nine. It reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The possession of firearms was not written to provide the leisure pursuit of ‘game’ hunting. It was included as a further guarantee to defend those rights gained by blood and sacrifice against the necessity of a well-regulated militia that could deprive those rights. Any guarantee against government intrusion into the personal rights of the citizen is without enforcement without the power to enforce. As the Declaration of Independence avers, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
The Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms. The concept of such a right existed within English common law long before the enactment of the Bill of Rights. First codified in the English Bill of Rights of 1689 (but there only applying to Protestants), this right was enshrined in fundamental laws of several American states during the Revolutionary era, including the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776. Those wretched citizens of totalitarian regimes in which the possession of arms is denied the people have no recourse but to submit themselves to the most treacherous of treatment – even death – at the hands of prideful tyrants. An example would be North Korea, Red China, or the regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia of years past.
Is there a biblical justification for self-defense and the exertion of arms to defend one’s liberty of conscience and religion? There absolutely is such justification. In fact, I would question the Christian standing of any man who would not defend his family, his faith, or his country by the force of arms. “And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:7-8 (KJV) Certainly, defending against predators, and even the excesses of government miscarriage, include that responsibility of caring for those of one’s own household and country. There are numerous verses which support the right to bear arms. But I will emphasize the leading text of this devotion for brevity. “And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.”
What did our Lord mean by this counsel? Soon He would be parted from the disciples and unable to defend them from those scoundrels who would unjustly arrest Him in the garden. So, He counsels the disciples to acquire swords if they do not have them. They have two only, but Christ told them, “It is enough!” Enough for what? Enough for self-defense, of course! It is for this reason that our friend, Peter, had a sword to draw and slice off the ear of one of the soldiers. This act was not condoned by Christ. He had not intended the swords to be used offensively in His own defense since He MUST die on the cross to complete our redemption – the swords were for the defense of the disciples whom Christ had counseled to acquire them. From the beginning, our Lord’s interest was in saving the disciples and apostles for future service. When taken in the garden, He proved that desire with these words, “As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.” John 18:6-9 (KJV)
I pray that none who read this will cringe before the throne of unmitigated and unjustifiable force of any government grown overly big and powerful in reducing her people to serfdom.