Ahaz Scalia Trump

For ye were as sheep going astray ~ 1 Peter 2:25

For ye were as sheep going astray ~ 1 Peter 2:25

And, no, that’s not a prospective baby name.

Two thousand sixteen is an election year and Christians seem to focus on little else at such times. Twelve years ago I wrote an article that resulted from a study of the Bible to discern what Scriptural directions a Christian has to guide them in making voting decisions. The article was entitled, “The Christian Voter’s Guide.” I received a little feedback from it, including a piece of hate mail in which I was called some ugly names by someone I don’t know and didn’t respond to. It reminded me of the intellectual level of a school yard exchange that includes many, I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I’s. I guess they took their ball and went home because I haven’t heard anything else from them. Oh well, life goes on, time heals all wounds, and all that.

2015 was a peak and plunge kind of year. We were reeling in the summer from the anti-consitutional Supreme Court decision when undercover Planned Parenthood videos began rolling out exposing the most vile and indefensible wickedness in that organization. Thus far the only thing that has resulted has been the indictment, not of Planned Parenthood, but of the investigator responsible for the videos. If we learned nothing else from these things, we know, regardless of the sitting president, we have wickedness in high places.

Racial tensions across the country were also very high, but it gets confusing when we come to the intersection of racial issues and abortion. Though the racist past and present of the abortion industry has been well documented, none or little of the aforementioned tension knocks on the abortionists’ doors. I wonder if we could finally raise civil ire if we would segregate the abortion mills so that you kill the white babies in one building and kill the black babies in a different building. If that ever happened, you could weigh the irony in kilos and sell it legally in some states.

The serious issues facing this country are far too many to list but they come into sharp focus during a major election year. Based on posts, comments, discussions, and the haunted look about the eyes of many Christians it would seem the times are desperate. When things get desperate, otherwise sane men do desperate things.

Once again, we need to look to the Bible and ask if there’s any light for our current situation and upcoming election. Paul said, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4). Considering Israel, He wrote to the Corinthians: “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Peter added concerning the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly” (2 Peter 2:6).

King Ahaz

The Kingdom of Judah experienced their greatest prosperity under the reign of King Uzziah. Unfortunately, their increasing physical prosperity was accompanied by increasing spiritual poverty. Conditions in Judah grew steadily worse under the subsequent reigns of Jotham and Ahaz until they experienced some revival under Hezekiah. The times of these kings were before the Babylonian captivity though they were leading to it.

One of the common complaints against both Israel and Judah in the major and minor prophets was their reliance upon foreign nations to deliver and protect them from their enemies. They were repeatedly rebuked for their desperation and fear rather than trusting in God.

It all came to a head in Ahaz’s reign. The northern Kingdom of Israel had made an alliance with the Kingdom of Syria. Israel had done this to strengthen themselves particularly against the threat of the ascendant Kingdom of Assyria. Israel and Syria sought to bring Judah into their alliance to oppose Assyria. King Ahaz and Judah refused alliance with Israel, which brought aggression on them by the Syro-Israelite alliance. Ahaz became aware of a conspiracy by Israel and Syria to remove him from the throne and put a vassal king in his place that would lead Judah into alliance with them. This plot was certainly satanically motivated as an attempt to destroy the line of David.

Ahaz was so fearful and desperate that he sought alliance with the king of Assyria to help deliver and protect Judah from Israel and Syria. Isaiah 7 records how God sent the prophet Isaiah to King Ahaz to warn him against seeking alliance with Assyria. Ahaz’s mind was already made up. With a choice of two alliances before him, he chose the lesser of two evils in his mind and joined with Assyria. As with all such choices, in the end he was not helped or bettered by it but rather hurt (2 Chronicles 28:20).

Justice Antonin Scalia

On February 13, 2016 Justice Antonin Scalia died. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan and served on that court from 1986 until his recent death. He was a strict constructionist or textualist. He believed in interpreting the United States Constitution as was originally intended by the framers. He consistently opposed the now dominant view of a “living document” hermeneutic, which cares not for original intent but rather sees meaning evolving over time and changing with conditions. In defense of the textual approach to the Constitution in 1997, Scalia wrote:

The American people have been converted to belief in The Living Constitution, a ‘morphing” document that means, from age to age, what it ought to mean. And with that conversion has inevitably come the new phenomenon of electing and confirming federal judges, at all levels, on the basis of their views concerning a whole series of proposals for constitutional evolution. If the courts are free to write the Constitution anew, they will, by God, write it the way the majority wants; the appointment and confirmation process will see to that. This, of course, is the end of the Bill of Rights, whose meaning will be committed to the very body it was meant to protect against: the majority. By trying to make the Constitution do everything that needs to be done from age to age, we shall have caused it to do nothing at all.

That sounds like the road to judicial tyranny because it is. We have not yet mourned the loss of Scalia as we ought, but I fear we shall be made to. He wasn’t a perfect man nor a perfect justice. He was a strong influence for good and a key vote on the court. At this point, I figure we are extremely fortunate if we end up getting half the justice he was on the nation’s highest court, but I will continue to breathe.

What does Scalia’s passing represent, if anything, to us? If you ask how we got to our current condition, you will get answers from the four corners. If we go back to Judah, I think we might find an answer that I haven’t yet heard from anyone.

When nations walk in rebellion against God, there are consequences. Judgment comes. After God sent direct reproof to stop trusting in man (Isaiah 2:22), He warned of the judgment that He would bring on Judah. In Isaiah 3:1-5, He warned He would punish the people by taking away their good leaders and putting incompetent and bad leaders in their place. This would result in increasing oppression and injustice. Political and social conditions would deteriorate and desperation would spread.

The common lament from Christians about elections is that there are no really good candidates to vote for. How often have you heard someone talk about “holding their nose and pulling the lever”? Could it be that we are suffering judgment where the good leaders are being removed and really bad ones being put in their place?

Candidate for President of These United States, Donald Trump

I was somewhat surprised by the Trump candidacy but I have been more surprised to see the support for him from professing evangelical Christians. In the recent South Carolina primary, he won a large number of votes from southern, self-professed Christians. These are conservative southern people on the hip loop of the Bible belt and, having several choices on a ballot, chose Donald Trump.

Almost daily we hear the refrain from more reluctant supporters about how we must choose the lesser of two evils in order to keep the Democrats out at all cost and since Trump has the best chance to win, we must vote for him. That sounds like desperation.

When Isaiah warned Judah against setting their hope in man, he warned them of judgment coming in one form of removing their good leaders. Isaiah 3 describes their desperation in several ways, but Isaiah 3:6 describes a political desperation where the people are willing to grab hold of anybody if they think it might help in some way. Of course, like with Ahaz’s choice of the lesser of two evils, it ended up to their hurt (Isaiah 3:7-8; 30:1-3; 36:6).

I have written before about the false dilemma of the lesser of two evils choices and I’m not going to rehash that now. I do want to add a word or two though. Over the last 12 years I have heard repeated accusations by adherents to the prevailing philosophy against those who see their responsibility differently. Anyone who doesn’t vote for The One is chided, derided, rebuked, scorned, mocked, unfriended, unfollowed, told they are personally responsible for the condition of this country, and probably more terrible things I haven’t heard about.

Is this accusation true, or at least founded on reality? No, it is not. In the 2012 election, Barack Obama received 51.01% of the popular vote. Mitt Romney received 47.15% of the vote. That means that votes for all other candidates combined accounted for less than 2% of the vote. If all of that went to Romney, which it couldn’t have for different reasons, he still would have lost. This doesn’t even account for the fact that presidents are not elected by popular vote. The rationale of the accusation is looking at those results and thinking they are really close so every vote counts. Based on this, they beat up on those with clear consciences for not toeing the line.

This is a massive way of missing the forest for the trees. There is another way to look at it. In 2012 53% of all voters in the election identified as protestant Christians. That number does not include the 25% of voters that were Catholics. Of that 53% Christian voters, 42% or almost half of them voted for Barack Hussein Obama. The surprising part of that whole election was that the candidate that they voted for actually won. According the lesser of two evils theory I thought it was the candidate you didn’t vote for that won. Maybe I’m confused. It seems that the large percentage of professed Christians who are voting “for” liberal candidates are actually the ones responsible for said liberal candidates inhabiting the environs of Pennsylvania Avenue.

If Donald Trump ends up being the next president, it will be to our hurt (Proverbs 25:19). What are we to do? The same thing Judah was supposed to do. We should not give in to fear and desperation. We should trust God and do what He’s actually told us to do and leave the running of the universe to Him.

About Jeff Short