"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VIII No.I Pg.62-64
June 1945

X. Civil Government And The Bible

T. B. Wilkinson

We have already learned how civil government developed civilization for mankind, and preserved it for future generations, handing it down from one age to another, and from one nation to another. After the dispersion at the Tower of Babel the human race was scattered over the face of the earth, and men lived a more or less unsettled life. The various families would seek out the most favorable localities, settle there for a number of years and lead a kind of pastoral existence with their herds and flocks, each family living unto itself. Land was there for them to raise such grain crops as they cared to bother with, without money or price, and for a long time they built little in the way of permanent improvements.

When the range would become depleted, or game scarce, they would take up their tents in a body, and driving their herds before them would seek homes in some other locality where natural resources were more promising, and fresh ranges could be found for their flocks and herds. While the beginning of the nations was at the Tower of Babel, it was many centuries before nations of any considerable size existed in the world. First, it was the family form of government with the head of the family making all of the civil regulations, and enforcing them, then the uniting of families into tribes for mutual protection against hostile tribes, and later the uniting of the tribes into larger units forming incipient nations.

Beneficial as the great dispersion at the Tower of Babel had been in preserving the memory and worship of the one God for the people it seems to have served its purpose in the period surrounding the times of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the world had practically forgotten God. We have a very incomplete history of the world during that long period of time, but we have enough in our Bible to make us know that while it was very bad, there still were men of great integrity who worshipped God, and who kept His name alive, men like Job, Melchizedec, Abraham, and Jethro, but they were few among the many who worshipped only idols.

But the kind of life they were forced to live did not develop or preserve the kind of civilization the world must have if men were to live and work together in large communities which was becoming imperative as the populations increased, and the habitable portions of the earth were occupied. Such discoveries and inventions as they made would soon be largely lost in their tribal wars instead of being preserved and improved, and passed on to future generations. In countries like Egypt, Mesopotamia. Phoenicia, where the people were permanently settled, and had permanent improvements, valuable discoveries and inventions would be preserved, and improve, and woven into an orderly civilization.

This civilization not only grew in the lands of its birth, but was handed down to other nations which continued to improve and develop them, and we have already learned how our civilization came down to us through the instrumentality of civil government as the population of the world grew and multiplied.

Now we want to know what part civil government had in giving, and preserving our Bible for us. Why did God wait so long before giving man a written revelation of His will? Why did He not have Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, write the book of Genesis, and other books revealing his will to man? My answer is that God had no nation at hand to whom these books could have been delivered, and who could have preserved them for future generations down to the end of them. He began with Abraham to raise up such a nation, and he finished it in the days of Moses and Joshua. When He had a people ready to receive and preserve such a revelation it was written and delivered to them, and in such a manner that they knew it came from God.

This nation was prepared and trained under the tutorship of the greatest civil government the world had known at that time. God sent them down into Egypt, lock, stock and barrel, and kept them there for four hundred years and until they had multiplied to at least a million souls. Moses, who was to mold these people into the kind of nation God wanted of them, was raised up in the courts of the king of Egypt, and taught all the learning of the Egyptians, which at the time was far superior in the arts of civilization to any other nation on earth. Egypt in spite of her high civilization for that age of the world was steeped in idolatry. But no doubt the sojourn of these people of God among them for four hundred years had tempered their idolatry, and had contributed more to Egyptian civilization than they had received from Egypt in the art of civil government.

But God kept His people in the wilderness for forty years during which time he taught them to loathe the abominations of the Egyptians, and they were given a law which would govern them throughout their national life. This law was given them in a way that made them know that it came from God. Only the five books of Moses had been written at that time, but the people who received them knew the facts around which it was written were all true. They had witnessed the plagues in the land of Egypt, they remembered that night when the destroyer passed through the land, and the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, and they beard the thunders of Mt. Sinai, and saw the lightnings. They ate the manna for forty years in the wilderness, and drank from the flinty rock that followed them the water that God gave.

The other books of the Old Testament were delivered unto them after they had become a nation in their own land. The books of Joshua and Judges, and the books of Samuel, the Kings, the Chronicles, and other books of that nature, were history that any well informed Jew could have written at the time, and the people knew that the facts related by them were true when they received them. They had lived them, and experienced them, and they were matters of common knowledge.

The prophetical books were different, and rested on a different kind of evidence, but the evidence was sufficient to make the people accept them as from God, and they afterwards proved themselves when the events they foretold came to pass just as the prophet had written them. The manner in which those books were written and delivered unto the nation prepared to receive them, and the jealous manner in which they preserved their purity of text, is our strongest proof that they came from God and are inspired. Without this nation to receive them and preserve them we never could have had those books.

Regardless of what we think of civil government the fact remains that God did not make a revelation of his will to man in written form until he had a civil government ready to receive it and preserve it. And this nation did preserve it pure for fifteen hundred years and present it to the world at that time in such a manner as to make us know that it was the very book God had given, the basic books of which were written by God's own prepared legislator, Moses. And they were not an obscure people unknown to the nations of the world, God saw to it that they were known to all the nations of the earth.

And to know about these people was to know about their religion, their God, and the book which revealed him to man. What he Jews contributed to the civilization of the world through this book God gave them was of more value than all the other nations had contributed from the beginning of time. It was used to purify what the other nations contributed, weed out that which was evil, and preserve for the race that which was that which was good. They contributed only in material things, while the Bible contributes spiritual things. The material things were valuable in making possible the civilization necessary to man's material well being, but without the moral and spiritual contributed by the Bible it is just as apt to lead man away from God, and make him vain to trust in his own powers.

Without some form of civil government the children of Israel never could have been molded into a nation, and held together as a people, and made to work together to perform the mission God had for them in the world. And without this nation the Bible never could have been prepared for man, and preserved for him through all of the centuries. It would have perished like the myths of other ancient nations. The Jews understood very little of the great purpose God had in mind when He made them into a nation. They accepted it as a special favor to them, and the Bible as their own private property in which other nations could never have a part, but we know now it was given for the whole world.

God not only gave them a civil government and made them a nation but he made of them a great nation among the nations of the earth. He gave them a government, and a glory, which attracted the attention of the greatest nations in the world, and the things which made them great was their religion and the books in which that religion was revealed. When the kingdom finally fell because of their sins there was not a nation on the earth which did not know about these Jews, and about their religion, and their God, and many of the mightiest kings of the world were made to tremble at the name of Israel's God.

Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon knew about the God of heaven, and pretended to worship Him, and the only source from which he could have learned of Him was from the Jews, and their books of revelation. The Jews lost their civil government, they lost their kingdom, but their contribution to the civilization of the world was not lost. Even in their captivity God preserved them as a people, and they preserved faithfully the books he had committed to their keeping, and we have them today just as they were written by the Spirit of God.

The influence of those books on the civilization of the world was never as great in all history as it is today. Just a short time ago we heard the President of one of the three greatest nations of the world take the oath of office, and solemnly promise that he would rule these people as this book directs. With his hand on a faded copy of God's book, yellowed with age during the two hundred and fifty years that single copy has been in his family, read and revered by many eyes, he promised the God who gave the book that he would heed its precepts, and rule the people in harmony with its teaching. There may be many things in the book which the President does not understand, but in the light which he has he can do exactly what he promised in that oath.