Some of the most important rights and creeds that Americans hold dear are enshrined in national documents and the works of the Founding Fathers—but the word of God is the true foundation of knowledge and freedom.
One of our ministers was challenged, “Can you show me even one example where the U.S. Constitution is in disagreement with the Bible?” This question demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of the Gospel message and possibly ignorance as to what is in the Constitution. The questioner was immersed in all the political wrangling going on in America today, and his approach expressed the attitude, I have my God-ordained rights; no one is going to tell me what to do.
We should all be thankful for the liberties we have in the U.S. and other Israelite countries. The U.S. Constitution provides for checks and balances as safeguards against tyranny. The founders understood the selfish tendency of human nature and what can happen when carnal men have too much power. They therefore set up what was intended to be a fair—but, in some ways, deliberately inefficient—system, not allowing any single state too much power. That is why each state, no matter its size, has two senators but varying numbers of Congressmen in the House of Representatives based on population.
The American founders also enshrined certain individual rights that could not be taken away by majority opinion, and they set up a judicial system to uphold these rights. That is how it is supposed to work—but, as we know, selfish individuals often find ways to get around or ignore laws. Nevertheless, it would be impossible for us to carry on this Work without such freedoms as those of speech, religion, and expression. This is especially so because the truth is not a majority creed.
Every U.S. citizen—and even citizens of other nations—should be thankful for the freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, as those freedoms have de facto spread far beyond national borders and created a base from which God’s Church can preach the truth around the world. But does that mean the U.S. Constitution agrees with the Bible? Will it be the founding document under the rule of Jesus Christ—and, if not, what will be the founding documents of Jesus’ worldwide rule?
Sadly, many are ignorant of the document in which they profess to have such faith, and they often conflate three different documents. As one can easily find online, “The Declaration [of Independence], the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are, in many ways, fused together in the minds of Americans” (ConstitutionCenter.org).
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was drafted in 1776 and, among other points, gives us these memorable words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These words and phrases certainly sound good, but what about the following words found in the Declaration? “To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Does this statement not go back to the Garden of Eden, where man took to himself the prerogative to choose right and wrong? Will the rule of Christ be derived from “the consent of the governed”? Or will it be derived from the decree of God Almighty?
The Declaration continues, “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.” In other words, it is the “Right of the People” to overthrow a government they deem unjust—exactly what was done by the American Revolution, and why this document is called a declaration of “Independence.” America’s founding fathers wanted to be independent from the king of England. One can certainly argue that this was a good choice, but—more than most people realize—it no doubt had more to do with God’s plan to separate two brothers, similar to what happened to Israel at the time of Jeroboam and Rehoboam, when God said the separation that created two nations, Judah and Israel, “is from Me” (1 Kings 12:24).
The question must be asked: Should a true follower of Christ take up weapons to overthrow the government he is under? What did Jesus say? “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight… but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36). When Jesus was taken into custody—ultimately to be martyred—Peter whipped out a sword and took off a man’s ear (John 18:10–11). Did Jesus commend Peter for his zeal? To the contrary—He rebuked him for attempting to thwart God’s greater plan. Matthew’s account of the incident adds, “But Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword’” (Matthew 26:52). Later, the Apostle Paul explains that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
The U.S. Constitution
The U.S. Constitution was drafted eleven years after the Declaration, when the Revolutionary War was over. Again, we see a focus on human rule from the bottom up, as its preamble begins: “We the people.…” There are seven articles in the Constitution, each focusing on setting up a humanly devised form of government. Article 1 establishes a Congress—the House of Representatives and the Senate. Article 2 establishes the executive—a president. Article 3 establishes a Judiciary—the Supreme Court and lower courts. Article 4 defines relationships among the states. Article 5 details how amendments may be made. Article 6 addresses debts and treaties. Finally, Article 7 contains the ratification of the document.
As we see, this describes a form of government nowhere found in Scripture. So, we must ask, No matter how much we may be enamored with it, is the U.S. Constitution in agreement with the Bible? Does God want “we the people” choosing our leaders? (We might also ask, How are we doing on that score?) Is the Constitution merely the foundation of one more humanly constructed rule of law that is in the process of failing, as have all the others? In many respects it has served exceptionally well for more than 235 years, but its days were numbered from the beginning. It will fail, thanks to human greed, selfishness, and sin. No, this is not the Kingdom of God!
The First Amendment
The Bill of Rights was proposed in 1789 and comprises the first ten amendments to the Constitution—and it is what many people think of when they think of the Constitution. Because so much can be said about these amendments, the scope of this article only allows me to review the first two. The First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” We are thankful for that amendment, as without it the truth would be suppressed quickly by a state-sponsored counterfeit Christianity, as it was in England and Europe. But does freedom of religion reflect the Bible, the mind of God?
Let us not forget the question sparking this article: Are the U.S. Constitution and the Bible in harmony? Well, does the Bible support the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion? While we are thankful for the freedoms and rights we enjoy, the ultimate answer is absolutely not!
Nowhere does the Bible speak kindly of other gods. “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! O Israel, if you will listen to Me! There shall be no foreign god among you; nor shall you worship any foreign god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:8–10). Deuteronomy 12:1–5 called for the destruction of pagan places of worship, and Leviticus 20 took it one step further, decreeing the death penalty for anyone promoting the foreign god Molech. One might wonder why a loving God would take this approach. The answer is simple: False religion does not reflect the mind of God and will ultimately supplant the true worship of God if left unchecked.
Of course, we understand that we are not living in the Old Covenant nation of Israel. As such, individual Christians must not take it upon themselves to enact the death penalty or to destroy the property of those with different beliefs. But the mind of God toward idolatry and false religions is clear. God also warns us against counterfeit Christianity in Matthew 24:4–5, 2 Corinthians 11:13–15, and Revelation 17–18, just to name a few of many instances. He condemns idolatry from Genesis to Revelation. There will be none of any nation’s “freedom of worship” under the government of the only true God!
The First Amendment continues, “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.…” We are thankful for freedom of speech. Without it, our speech would be censored, which is even beginning to happen now, as America is straying further and further from its founding documents. But should there be limits to free speech? If the U.S. were truly a godly nation, there would be. The Bible—yes, even one of the Ten Commandments—forbids one kind of speech: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
This principle extends to how we speak about our rulers: “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people” (Exodus 22:28). A powerful statement was made after a man blasphemed the name of God (Leviticus 24:11–16). The mind of God (v. 12) dictated that the man be put to death. Even so, we as Christians under the New Covenant are not responsible for punishing others. That is left for God to handle—and handle it He will, in His time!
Has God changed His mind about freedom of speech? Not according to Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8. In a practical example of this, after the Apostle Paul spoke very sharply without realizing he was speaking to the High Priest (Acts 23:1–5), he acknowledged his error and quoted from the command in Exodus 22:28 when he was informed of this fact.
Another example of God’s mind involves how we speak of our parents: “For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 20:9). Once again, we are not under the theocracy of the Israelite nation administered by Moses, and it is not our responsibility to carry out the death penalty. But this passage shows us the mind of God toward the offender. We are not to speak evil of God, of our rulers, or of our parents. Brethren, there is much violation of this, even among members of God’s Church. We must take the mind of God seriously!
Under the Constitution, all these examples of speech are protected—you can use God’s name in vain, you can say anything vile against a ruler, and you can curse your parents! Returning to our central question of comparing the Bible and the U.S. Constitution, we have seen that there is a clear dichotomy between the two governing documents.
The Second Amendment
The Second Amendment 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.” Men have interpreted this amendment in differing ways, but rather than getting into the nuances and taking sides on arguments, we must ask what this amendment means to servants of God.
Are we to use guns to “overthrow” a corrupt government? Are we to join the military and learn to fight and kill? Should we become politically involved in the carnal disputes over the Second Amendment? Or are we part of a different kingdom with a citizenship held in heaven (John 18:36; Philippians 3:18–20)?
A Future Constitution
While we are grateful for the freedoms we have under the U.S. Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and any other humanly devised document that brings a level of peace and religious freedom, none agree with the Bible. We have seen a few indisputable examples in this article. All such documents contradict the Bible in numerous ways.
Let us now turn to the question of what Constitution—what instrument of government—Christ will institute upon His return. What will be the foundation and structure of His rule? The Bible answers this question. It tells us the form of government, how leaders of that government will be selected, the laws of that government, and how those laws will be enforced.
Instead of “We the people…” it will be “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2). Israel of old rejected God’s rule (1 Samuel 8:7), but His rule will be reestablished—not only for Israel, but for the whole world (Zechariah 14:9). David will be resurrected to be king over all Israel (Jeremiah 30:9). The Twelve Apostles will each rule over one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). We who respond during this age to God’s calling will be given responsibility over cities (Luke 19:11–19). That is the pattern found in Scripture, but much detail will be filled in as Christ appoints rulers over nations, cities, and specific responsibilities within them.
The Ten Commandments—the commandments of God—will be our Bill of Rights (Exodus 20:2–17), from which will come true liberation (James 1:25; 2:12). Freedom of speech and expression will come with limits that reflect the mind of God—putting an end to disrespect, profanity, pornography, and pagan religious practices. God’s Spirit will undergird that new world (Hebrews 8:6–13). Children will honor their parents and there will be respect for Christ’s chosen leaders. There will be no more need for guns to fight wars or protect oneself (Isaiah 2:1–4). And when someone does stray too far off track, there will be reminders from caring Spirit rulers (Isaiah 30:20–21).
That will be a very different world from the one in which we now live. We are told to come out of this present Babylonish world and become ambassadors for Christ (Revelation 18:4; see also 2 Corinthians 5:20). “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Mankind’s Declarations of Independence, Constitutions, and Bills of Rights are in disagreement with the Bible. How sad it is that members can be in God’s Church for decades and not realize this basic truth. Perhaps it is time to search more thoroughly for the leaven that sits in the back of our minds!