Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, July 5, 2020
Shavuah Tov *|FNAME|*,
A Couple of Thoughts Why America Is Great
by Dr. and Senator Raymond Finney
INTRODUCTION: In last Sunday’s RR, I discussed the creation of the United States as a new nation founded on faith in God. Today, the United States excels in many things. Our nation is prosperous and free (if the politicians will leave us alone). Why? Why has America excelled beyond other nations which equal or exceed our resources? In other words, why has God blessed America?
You probably could add other reasons, but in today’s RR I wish to suggest two reasons for America’s greatness:
** From the beginning, our nation’s citizens had strong faith in God. This answer will include Alexis de Tocqueville’s observations about faith in a fledgling America.
** In the past century, America has had a special, protective relationship with Israel. This answer will quote from the Dispensation of Promise (Genesis 12:3).
However; God may withdraw America’s blessings, as He withdrew Israel’s blessings in the past. What made our nation great in the past is losing favor with those in power and the people in America. That is:
** As Yeshua and Bible prophets foretold, we are entering a period of apostasy. Faith in God is becoming weaker every day in America. American Believers are only slightly more faithful than, say, European Believers (not a compliment!). We are living now “as the days of Noah were” (Matthew 24:37-39).
** Antisemitism and replacement theology are weakening America’s love for and protection of Israel. Increasingly, for various reasons, we are choosing to support Israel’s enemies (the Islamic bloc, agnostics, and others); and, we are listening to the Accuser (Satan), as he slanders Israel.
How long will God continue to bless America? Without God’s blessing, how long can America continue to remain strong, prosperous, and free?
■ REASON 1 FOR AMERICA’S GREATNESS: A YOUNG AMERICA WAS POPULATED WITH FAITH-FILLED PERSONS: In last Sunday’s RR, I presented several instances of our nation’s Founders and Framers who earnestly sought Adonai’s guidance as they started with “blank sheets of paper” and hammered out the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They created a form of government which, when it works properly, is the best government ever devised.
How long did this “love affair” with God in Three Persons last? At least well into the nineteenth century. For example, we have the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville (commonly shortened to “Tocqueville”) to aid our understanding.
Tocqueville (born, 1805; died, 1859) was a French aristocrat, diplomat, political scientist, historian, and author.
In 1831, the French government sent Tocqueville, a young (he was 26) government official, to America to study America’s prisons. While here, though, he found religious faith and its influence on democracy to be far more compelling. He wrote a two-volume classic, “Democracy in America,” published in separate volumes in 1835 and 1840.
He was greatly impressed by the effect faith in God had on Americans, although he could not reconcile slavery and treatment of American Indians with faith in God. He believed that equality was the great political and social idea of his era, and he thought that the United States offered the most advanced example of equality in action he had seen. He felt that a potential weakness of American society is that it lacked intermediate social structures (such as those provided by traditional hierarchies) to mediate relations with the state. The result could be a democratic “tyranny of the majority” in which individual rights were compromised.
Tocqueville was especially impressed with the numerous, popular, well-attended churches in America. These American churches stood in contrast to the much less numerous, more authoritarian Catholic churches of his native France in which popular participation was far less enthusiastic.
Some quotations from Tocqueville’s writings may illustrate his findings:
** “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
** “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”
** “Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France, I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.”
** “There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.”
** “The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to conceive of one without the other.”
** “There is no country in the world in which everything can be provided for by laws, or in which political institutions can prove a substitute for common sense and public morality.”
** “Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.”
** “In America religion is the road to knowledge, and the observance of the divine laws leads man to civil freedom.”
** “The revolution of the United States was the result of a mature and dignified taste for freedom, and not of a vague or ill-defined craving for independence.”
Many persons other than Tocqueville have commented on the role of faith in the formation and development of the United States, but space does not allow this information to be included in this RR.
SIDELIGHT: I will make a personal observation. I am now 79 years of age and have lived most of my life in eastern Tennessee (that is, in the Bible Belt). My formative years were in the late 1940s and 1950s. I think back to the role of religion in every day life during my formative years, and the role of religion in every day life during these, the last years of my life. There is little comparison. People, then, earnestly lived their faith. People, now, give little thought to their faith, and many are ashamed of anything related to God. I believe anyone near my age would agree that Americans’ faith is much less today, than it was in the past.
Yeshua, the Apostle Paul, and the prophets warned us that this apostasy would come and intensify, as we approach the last days. END sidelight.
■ REASON 2 FOR AMERICA’S GREATNESS: AMERICA HAS DEFENDED AND BEFRIENDED ISRAEL: By most Bible students’ counts, there have been seven dispensations from God. Dispensations are distinct periods of time in which God demands obedience to a specific aspect or revelation of His will. One of these dispensations is the Dispensation of Promise (Genesis 12:1-3): Then Adonai said to Abram, “Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing. My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
This dispensation is the foundation for Israel and the Jewish people. Let me repeat Adonai’s words in Genesis 12:3a: “My desire is to bless those who bless you [Abraham’s descendants], but whoever curses you I will curse,….”
Adonai presented nations of the world with the choice of a blessing or a curse, depending upon their treatment of God’s people Israel.
The United States has been a strong ally of Israel. A brief outline of American support for Israel includes:
** America’s Founding Fathers, most of whom were deeply faith-filled and learned in Scriptures, relied heavily on Judeo-Christian principles in writing America’s foundational documents and in establishing the bases of our government. Even earlier, colonists modeled their governments after the ancient Jewish nation. Jewish faith is based on the desire for liberty, and liberty has always burned in the hearts of Americans. An original design for the United States’ official Seal– proposed by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams– depicted the Israelites crossing the Red Sea with Pharaoh in pursuit and Moses standing on the other side. The motto was to have been: “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” The Liberty Bell’s inscription is a verse from the Tanakh (Leviticus 25:10): And Proclaim Freedom Throughout The Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof. Eighteenth century American universities required students to learn Hebrew. There was even sentiment in making the new United States the New Israel. This sentiment was not shared by God, of course.
** Throughout the nineteenth century, there was strong Zionist sentiment in America, wishing to provide a homeland for Jews in what was then called Palestine. Of course, nothing happened from these sentiments. Why? It was not in God’s timetable for Jews to return from the Diaspora to re-establish Israel. Several events needed to transpire before the fig tree (Israel) budded (Matthew 24:32-35).
** In 1917, Lord Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild, president of the British Zionist Federation, promising that the British Government would facilitate the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. American president Wilson expressed his support for the Balfour Declaration in 1919. Presidents who succeeded Wilson also supported the Balfour Declaration and statehood for Israel. U.S. Congresses supported the Zionists’ desires for a Jewish homeland through congressional resolutions in 1922 and 1944. Similarly, thirty-three state legislatures (33 out of, then, 48 states) adopted resolutions in support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. NOTE: The origin of “Palestine” is uncertain. It may have originated in the Egyptian-Hebrew peleshet (“rolling, migratory”). It was applied to the Philistines. In AD 132, the Romans crushed the revolt of Shimon Bar-Kokhba. Judea was renamed Palestina by Roman Emperor Hadrian as an insult to the Jews and to reduce identification of the people with anything Jewish.
** Following World War I, the British Empire administered Palestine, which was lost by the Ottoman Empire during this war. In 1947, Great Britain proposed partitioning (dividing) Palestine into Jewish and Arab parts and making Jerusalem an international city. Through maneuvering only God could orchestrate, Palestine was divided, providing a thin rim of land along the Mediterranean Sea for Jews to inhabit. Israel declared her independence. The United States was the first nation to grant de facto recognition of the new Jewish state– eleven minutes after the proclamation.
** Every American president since Israel was re-established, has supported Israel. Such support has been far more than nice speeches. Military aid and other tangible support have been invaluable to this tiny nation surrounded by ravenous enemies who would consider destruction of the Jewish nation to be a gift to Allah.
** In 2018, President Donald Trump moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Although unpopular in many quarters (here and abroad), ancient Bible prophecies were fulfilled (see: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/05/president_trump_fulfills_prophecies_and_moves_our_embassy_to_jerusalem.html). Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called Trump a modern-day Cyrus. Cyrus the Great, a Persian king (ca 600-553 BC), is said to have permitted Jews to be released from the Babylonian Exile to return to present-day Israel to build the Second Temple.
SIDELIGHT: Perhaps in another RR I can discuss this important topic in greater detail. The point is, the United States has been a strong ally of Israel. Adonai promised in the Dispensation of Promise that He would bless anyone who blesses (befriends, aids, protects) descendants of Abraham. Has God fulfilled that promise, by blessing Israel’s friend, the United States?
I do not have space to summarize some of the many acts of antisemitism occurring in America. Know that such despicable acts occur and are increasing. The media are essentially silent on these acts, though. The media prefer to report activities by Black Lives Matter. Perhaps, Jews should organize as JLM (Jewish Lives Matter), march en masse, burn cities, and topple statues.
Even more disturbing, in my opinion, is the doctrine of replacement theology (supersessionism), which teaches that the Christian church has replaced Israel in God’s plan, Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. Paul (Romans, chapter 11) and John’s vision of Jewish influences in Heaven (Revelation) are but two examples to show that this doctrine is a damnable lie– a heresy. Considering the 25 Christian church denominations in America with most members, 16 of these teach replacement theology (see: https://amos37.com/replacement-denominations/ ).
If America no longer blesses Israel, why would Adonai choose to continue blessing our nation? END sidelight. Shalom and Maranatha.