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A Bible Study of The Scripture

Lesson 7 - Did our Founding Fathers deliberately violate God's Word?

Did our Founding Fathers deliberately violate God's Word?

This week we start on the 4th question: Based upon these modern interpretations our country would have been founded in disobedience to God. Did our Founding Fathers deliberately violate God's Word?

In 1774 many leading men of the Colonies met in Fairfax Virginia. George Mason and George Washington were two of the most prominent spokesmen for what became known as the Fairfax Resolves. The Fairfax Resolves presented the colonial view in the growing conflict with the English government.

From the Fairfax Resolves, number 1 and 5:

Resolved, That this Colony and Dominion of Virginia cannot be considered as a conquered country, and, if it was, that the present inhabitants are the descendants, not of the conquered, but of the conquerors. That the same was not settled at the national expense of England, but at the private expense of the adventurers, our ancestors, by solemn compact with, and under the auspices and protection of, the British Crown,upon which we are, in every respect, as dependent as the people of Great Britain, and in the same manner subject to all his Majesty's just, legal, and constitutional prerogatives; that our ancestors, when they left their native land, and settled in America, brought with them, even if the same had not been confirmed by Charters, the civil Constitution and form of Government of the country they came from, and were by the laws of nature and Nations entitled to all its privileges, immunities, and advantages, which have descended to us, their posterity, and ought of right to be as fully enjoyed as if we had still continued within the Realm of England.

Resolved, That the claim lately assumed and exercised by the British Parliament for making all such laws as they think fit to govern the people of these Colonies, and to extort from us our money without our consent, is not only diametrically contrary to the first principles of the Constitution and the original compacts by which we are dependent upon the British Crown and Government, but is totally incompatible with the privileges of a free people and the natural rights of mankind, will render our own Legislatures merely nominal and nugatory, and is calculated to reduce us from a state of freedom and happiness to slavery and misery.

Some sample compacts:

Covenant of Exeter, New Hampshire
July 5, 1639

Whereas it hath pleased the Lord to Moue the heart of our Dread Soveraigne Charles, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France & Ireland, to grant license & liberty to sundry of his subjects to plant themselves in the westerne partes of America: Wee, his loyall subjects, brethren of the church of Exeter, situate & lying upon Piscataquacke, wth other inhabitants there, considering wth ourselves the holy will of god and our owne necessity, that we should not live whout wholesome lawes & government amongst us, of wch we are altogether destitute; doe in the name of Christ & in the sight of God combine ourselves together, to erect & set up amongst us such government as shall be to our best discerning, agreeable to the will of god, professing ourselves subjects to our Sovereign Lord King Charles, according to the Libertys of our English Colony of the Massachusetts & binding ouselves solemnly by the grace & helpe of Christ & in his name & fear to submit ourselves to such godly & christian laws as are established in the realme of England to our best knowledge, & to all other such lawes wch shall upon good grounds, be made & inacted amongst us according to God, yt we may live quietly & peaceablely together, in all godliness and honesty.

The Third Virginia Charter (March 12, 1612)

James, by the grace of God [King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith;] to all to whom [these presents shall come,] greeting. Whereas at the humble suite of divers and sundry our lovinge subjects, aswell adventurers as planters of the First Colonie in Virginia, and for the propagacion of Christian religion and reclayminge of people barbarous to civilitie and humanitie, we have by our lettres patent bearing date at Westminster the three and twentieth daie of May in the seaventh yeare of our raigne of England, Frannce and Ireland, and the twoe and fortieth of Scotland, given and grannted unto them, that they and all suche and soe manie of our loving subjects as shold from time to time for ever after be joyned with them as planters or adventurers in the said plantacion, and their successors for ever, shold be one body politique incorporated by the name of The Treasorer and Planters of the Cittie of London for the First Colonie in Virginia;

Several paragraphs later:

And that, nevertheles, for the handling, ordring and disposing of matters and affaires of great waight and importance and such as shall or maie in anie sort concerne the weale publike and generall good of the said Companie and plantacion as namely, the manner of government from time to time to be used, the ordring and disposing of the said possessions and the setling and establishing of a trade there, or such like, there shalbe held and kept everie yeare uppon the last Wednesdaie save one of Hillary, Easter, Trinity and Michaelmas termes, for ever, one great, generall and solemne assembly, which fower severall assemblies shalbe stiled and called The Fower Great and Generall Courts of the Counsell and Companie of Adventurers for Virginia; in all and every of which said great and generall Courts soe assembled our will and pleasure is and we doe, for us, our heires and successors forever, give and grannt to the said Treasurer and Companie and their successors for ever by theis presents, that they, the said Treasurer and Companie or the greater nomber of them soe assembled, shall and maie have full power and authoritie from time to time and att all times hereafter to ellect and choose discreet persons to be of our [said] Counsell for the said First Colonie in Virginia and to nominate and appoint such officers as theie shall thinke fitt and requisit for the government, managing, ordring and dispatching of the affaires of the said Companie; and shall likewise have full power and authority to ordaine and make such lawes and ordinances for the good and wellfare of the said plantacion as to them from time to time shalbe thought requisite and meete: soe allwaies as the same be not contrary to the lawes and statutes of this our realme of England; and shall in like manner have power and authority to expulse, disfranchise and putt out of and from their said Companie and societie for ever all and everie such person and persons as having either promised or subscribed their names to become adventurers to the said plantacion of the said First Colonie in Virginia, or having bin nominated for adventurers in theis or anie our lettres patent or having bin otherwise admitted and nominated to be of the said Companie, have nevertheles either not putt in anie adventure [at] all for and towards the said plantacion or els have refused and neglected, or shall refuse and neglect, to bringe in his or their adventure by word or writing promised within sixe monthes after the same shalbe soe payable and due.

From a 1774 sermon by: Samuel Sherwood - SCRIPTURAL INSTRUCTIONS TO CIVIL RULERS

But as we hold our properties and privileges by royal charter, has not the king and ministry a right to take this charter from us, and to strip us of all? I answer. No more than you that have wives, have a right to break the marriage covenant; and turn them out naked and destitute, and set them adrift.

The historical basis for the statement in the Fairfax Resolves is thus demonstrated in the actual Royal Charters of the English Colonies and was also expounded from the pulpit.

Let's look at the Scripture for a definition of a Biblical based compact (contract or covenant). Joshua 2:10-21

Verse

King James Version

New International Version 1984

10

For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.

11

And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

12

Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token:

Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign

13

And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death." 

14

And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.

"Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land."

15

Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.

So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.

16

And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. 

Now she had said to them, "Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way." 

17

And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.

The men said to her, "This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us

18

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee.

unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house.

19

And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.

If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him.

20

And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.

But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear."

21

And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.

"Agreed," she replied. "Let it be as you say." So she sent them away and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

If either party does not uphold their end of the conditions agreed upon the other party is no longer obligated to uphold theirs. Does the Scripture say anything about covenants and kings? II Kings 11:17

Verse

King James Version

Holman Christian Standard Bible

17

And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD's people; between the king also and the people.

Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD, the king, and the people that they would be the LORD's people and another covenant between the king and the people.

There are two covenants: 1) Between the Lord, king and people – that the people are still the Lord's people – not the kings people. 2) Between the king and the people – note the Lord's people.  II Samuel  5:3

Verse

King James Version

English Standard Version

3

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.

So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.

Joshua 9:14-15 Compact with the Gibeonites

Verse

King James Version

English Standard Version

14

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD.

15

And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.

And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.

Note that in Joshua 9:1-13 it is clearly shown that the Gibeonites deceived Joshua. How binding was the covenant made with the Gibeonites.

2 Samuel 21:1-3 answers that question.

Verse

King James Version

American Standard Version (ASV)

1

Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of Jehovah. And Jehovah said, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites.

2

And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)

And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah);

3

Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD?

and David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of Jehovah?

Apparently the covenant, even though the Gibeonites were deceitful and lied, was binding. Also note that even though it was Saul who ordered the slaying of the Gibeonites, God's judgment was rendered corporately. The Lord's people had a duty to check the king, but did not - so joined in the punishment from the Lord.

Another example is King Ahab and Elijah: I Kings 17 and 18. I Kings 17:1

Verse

King James version

New Kings James version

1

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."

I Kings 18:17-18a

Verse

King James Version

New King James Version

17

And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?

Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, "Is that you, O troubler of Israel?"

18a

And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.

And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals.

In verse 18:5 it is pointed out that the drought was so bad that even the animals were dying. So the people of Israel were punished for allowing King Ahab to defile their covenant with the Lord.

A New Testament example is located in Matthew 27:24-25

Verse

King James Version

New Living Translation (NLT)

24

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Pilate saw that he wasn't getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood. The responsibility is yours!"

25

25Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

And all the people yelled back, "We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!"

In 70 AD Titus destroyed Jerusalem and most of the population. So the local Jewish civil government and the people who condoned this act were corporately punished.

I Samuel 12:24-25

Verse

King James version

Good News Translation (GNT)

24

Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

Obey the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Remember the great things he has done for you.

25

But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.

But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be destroyed.

The covenantal aspect of civil government does have validity in Scripture and our country's history. The statements of our forefathers of the colonial period also show that they considered it their Christian duty to resist the violation of the covenant between the king and the colonies.

For those who want to look ahead, find and read the Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech of Patrick Henry.

Next: Lesson 7 - Did our Founding Fathers deliberately violate God's Word? Part 2