The Bible Doctrine of Justice

In a recent post here I pointed out that Zechariah 7:8-13 contains a reason for unanswered prayer: failure to listen to God’s Word about the need for justice.

Zec 7:9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:

The term “judgment” in older English versions is translated “justice” in some newer translations.

Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible reads for this same verse:

Zec 7:9 Thus, spake Yahweh of hosts, saying, – With true justice, give ye judgment, and, lovingkindness and compassions, observe ye, one with another;

The Contemporary English Version reads:

So once again, I, the LORD All-Powerful, tell you, “See that justice is done and be kind and merciful to one another!

In the following verse, Zechariah 7:10, God specifies how and to whom justice is to be performed:

Zec 7:10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.

In the Bible, the expression “the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger” are frequently mentioned together by way of a well-known figure of speech, Synecdoche (of the Species): widows and fatherless are put for all kinds of afflicted. Therefore, the commandment not to oppress extends to all classes of persons who can be oppressed, not merely widows and orphans.

Notice the express commandment in this passage: “And oppress not…the poor.”

In our own day this commandment is disregarded in many ways. I’ll suggest just a few flagrant examples, regardless of whose “toes” I may be stepping on:

(1) A bill failed in the Senate last month (September, 2010), which would have placed some limits on outsourcing of American jobs to countries where there is a great wage disparity between what workers are paid there compared to what workers are paid here; also, the bill would have made at least a beginning at “leveling the playing field” by both removing the tax incentives which support exporting our jobs and providing a tax incentive for employers who bring outsourced jobs back home. The bill failed to pass because of Republican opposition. In this instance, therefore, Republicans stand (or stood) against the teachings and commands of God found in the Bible about not oppressing the poor and against the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself that “The laborer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7). This nation cannot experience an economic recovery until there is a “jobs recovery,” and that won’t happen until we bring high-paying manufacturing jobs back to this country so workers can earn a living wage.

Many Christians suppose that the Republican Party is the more Biblical of the two parties because Republicans sometimes say they are not in favor of abortion. Weighed in the scales of God’s justice presented in the Bible, the Republicans are NOT friends of Biblical Christianity because Republicans are against Biblical justice.

(2) So-called right-to-work laws are really “right to work for lower wages” laws, and “no right to union protection laws.” And notice who favors these “right to work laws”: Republicans, and the local and national Chamber of Commerce.

My father once commented, “The only reason we need unions is because of bad management.”

Union contracts are necessary to be sure that workers are given “due process,” so the worker will not be fired unjustly.

Management does not like the extra burden following “due process” requires. I know firsthand. As a teacher, I became the Union Representative for my school, and served in this capacity for several years until my retirement. The school administration, for example, usually the principal, would hold back a teacher’s pay (or “dock” the teacher’s pay), and then say, when the teacher complained, “Grieve it.”

This is unjust, for the “penalty” was exacted from the teacher without due process procedures being followed first that would justify such a penalty. Therefore, the administration was guilty of injustice in terms of what the Bible teaches, for the Bible absolutely commands that wages must be paid on time (see Leviticus 19:13):

Lev 19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

I won the grievance on this issue. I also placed on the desk of the school principal and two assistant principals a page of the Scriptures from the Bible that they were clearly violating. I hope it nudged their consciences, because they all were active in their churches, and as professing Christians, even though employed in a public school, they ought to have obeyed the Bible, not their own selfish whim.

(3) The actions and policies of the Federal Reserve are likewise in violation of black letter law, not to mention being in violation of Biblical Law. The Federal Reserve refuses to be audited, which is therefore a lack of transparency. No doubt the Federal Reserve has plenty to hide. They are in violation of their stated purpose in law, namely, to keep the value of the dollar steady and unchanging over time.

Instead, the Federal reserve permits inflation on purpose, which is the theft of the value of the savings of the people. You cannot create the conditions necessary for capital formation without the accumulation of savings. No wonder the economy at present is not really recovering—there is no basis or grounds for genuine recovery. We got into this present mess by over-extending debt, and the officials at the Federal Reserve, particularly the man at its head, and the officials at the Treasury department, are clearly aware (or else they ought to be immediately removed if they are not) that the solution to our economic woes is not to encourage more borrowing.

Some years ago I helped a prominent political figure write some material preceding the national elections which gave a number of issues important to the election and the Biblical basis upon which to judge which political party or which candidates had the proper stance, according to the Bible, on the issue.

I heard an interesting review of what I wrote on SRN News, where the commentator said he did not think anything in the Bible pertained to the issue of our expanding national debt. The commentator’s name was Forest Boyd. I must state respectfully that Mr. Boyd did not read for himself the associated Scripture I furnished for the topic “National Debt,” or he could never have made such a claim.

Here are some pertinent verses from the Bible that pertain to this issue:

Psa 37:21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

At the rate our national government has been spending, it surely does not plan to pay up on that debt any time soon, and if and when it does, it no doubt plans to pay with inflated dollars, so that those who loaned us the money will get back far less value than what they loaned to us, which in Biblical terms, is fraud.

We have very obviously placed ourselves under the following curse of debt:

Deu 28:44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
Deu 28:45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:

Had we obeyed God, and the principles given in his written Word, the Bible, we should have benefited from the contrary promise of blessing:

Deu 28:12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
Deu 28:13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

Even the casual reader of the Bible verses given above ought to be able to clearly see that the Bible has much to say that pertains to our national debt. The expanding national debt and the continuing debasement of the value of our currency are issues of justice which are most pertinent to our predicament today. Our rapidly expanding national debt clearly fulfills the curse of God promised for those nations and individuals who disregard and disobey His written Word.

(4) Biblical justice also applies to respecting the freedoms guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment right of free speech, the right to assemble peaceably, and the right to freely practice our religion and share our faith with others. Two recent events are symptomatic of our general failure to follow our Constitution and the Bill of Rights or to follow the Bible.

The first event took place in Dearborn, Michigan at the Arab Festival last summer. A group of four missionaries were engaged on the public sidewalk outside the confines of the Festival itself, distributing copies of the Gospel of John in English and Arabic to those who willingly would receive them. They had not been distributing the literature more than a few minutes when they were confronted by the Dearborn Police, rounded up, and hauled off, charged with misdemeanor crimes of disturbing the peace, and the one young lady among them was further charged with disobeying the order of a police officer when she did not turn off her video camera the instant the police officer asked her to do so.

Last week the four were exonerated by a jury who declared them not guilty.

We have a right in this country to free exercise of religion, to freedom of speech, and to peaceable assembly. Even without those guaranteed rights stated in our founding documents, rights which come from God not the government, we have both the right and obligation to spread the Gospel to every creature in obedience to the command of Jesus Christ. The apostles in the book of Acts stated we ought to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). In the Dearborn case, it is clear to me that these four individuals were singled out because they were attempting to bring the gospel to the Muslims in Dearborn, apparently something the governmental authorities in Dearborn did not think was appropriate or politically correct.

The second event garnered far wider attention. A pastor in Gainesville, Florida, had posted signs outside his church stating that Islam is of the Devil, and proclaimed Saturday, September 11, 2010, as “Burn the Koran day.”

I think the dear pastor got far more attention than he originally bargained for. Muslims overseas staged wild protests, and burned the pastor in effigy. Fortunately for all, the pastor in Gainesville, Florida, was peacefully persuaded to cancel the event by the local Muslim Imam, who reportedly approached the pastor with the New Testament, and convinced him that what he proposed to do was out of character and incompatible with the teaching of Christ.

Denial of religious freedom and free speech rights in Dearborn indirectly reminds me of the injustice of the improper interpretation of our founding documents which would label as the “establishment of religion” mentioned in the First Amendment any religious activity done by an employee or member of the government, federal, state, or local, particularly if Christian or Biblical.

In another state a man who defaced the Koran was fired from his government job as a result. I do not defend this man for his action, but I do believe firing him is unjust, and not in accordance with the teaching of the Bible. The man’s actions were hardly “an establishment of religion,” even if he is employed by the government. He did his unwise act on his own time.

Judges and other governmental figures who think Christians must be censored on or off the job and not allowed freedom of speech on religious matters need a course in remedial reading.

When our founding documents were written, the “establishment of religion” forbidden to Congress had only to do with the establishing of a tax-supported official church for this nation in the manner the Anglican Church is the national church in England, called the Church of England. Our founders wanted no such government-sanctioned tax-supported national denomination here, for they fled England to secure the religious freedom we now enjoy. The prohibition to Congress has no legitimate bearing upon the restriction of Christians in the free exercise of their religion today.

Therefore, on a similar front, Christian pastors have every right to address political issues and commend or condemn candidates by name if they please to their heart’s content, the law and the Internal Revenue Service notwithstanding, for the law and the IRS have no business acting as censors of speech in the pulpit! I think that the so-called “Americans United for the Separation of Church and State” and the “American Civil Liberties Union” are both gravely misinformed and misguided on these issues, for they foster and promote a gravely mistaken misreading of the provisions of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, making it teach exactly opposite the intention of the Founding Fathers who authored it.

When reading the Bible or the Bill of Rights or any legal document or work of literature, it really helps to know how to read and interpret accurately what is written. That should probably be the subject of a detailed forthcoming post on the crucial issue of “The Rules of Interpretation.” You cannot do accurate Real Bible Study without them.

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8 Responses to The Bible Doctrine of Justice

  1. great post! Very useful.

  2. admin says:

    Thank you, Adalberto.

    I’m glad you found my “blog.”

    The doctrine of justice is most important, and totally ignored by most readers of the Bible. To learn even more, go to these verses I have cited, like Luke 10:7, and consult the cross references provided in either The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, where you will be amazed at how much of the Bible is devoted to every aspect of the theme of justice.

    Do return, and keep reading!

  3. ken sagely says:

    really enjoyed your article the scriptures were a blessing and a challenge!!, i was blessed by jer 23/6 today when the lord will reign in righteousness! thank you brother

  4. admin says:

    Dear Ken,

    I just sat down to prepare a new posting about the Bible and I saw your comment.

    I very much appreciate your comments. I wish there were more people who actually read what I have posted. I’ve had nearly 500 comments submitted, but most of them are evidently machine-generated generic “spam” which doesn’t say a word related to the subject of what I have posted.

    Maybe you and others who love the Bible can generate some legitimate traffic to this site so others can be blessed by its content, and maybe some of them would be able to post some comments that would further the discussion.

  5. The 1796 treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was “in no sense founded on the Christian religion”. This was not an idle statement– they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.

  6. admin says:

    This comment must have been written by someone who thinks they have studied American history, but did not.

    Since I taught world history, American history, and American literature (of the Colonial Period, or Early American Literature) to gifted and talented students at Cass Technical High School for many years, I have not only studied the issues, but have taught them.

    Read the founding documents, and the writings of the Founding Fathers of this nation, and some of the sources they read themselves, and you will learn some things that were not taught in the school you attended.

    For one thing, many fled their own countries to come here to secure religious freedom. For the most part, these were Christians. When this nation was founded, they wanted this nation to exist upon a Christian and Biblical basis, but not upon a denominational basis. They clearly did not wish to be saddled with a national church, an established church or denomination, such as England had.

    I have a multi-volume work titled The Christian History of the Constitution which cites original sources at length on this matter.

    We would have a great deal more obedience to the principles of Biblical Justice if we returned to the principles our country’s founders believed in.

  7. ginny says:

    The Doctrine of Justice–Can it be interpreted in any way one wants? I am not at the point where I can comment exactly as I think. Some of us, though, are so intent on defending our own actions that more important issues are neglected.

  8. Jerry says:

    Dear Ginny,

    Thank you for posting your question!

    I am glad you found this site of mine and chose to comment.

    Feel free to say more. I will be pleased to interact with you and answer any question you may pose.

    The Biblical doctrine of justice cannot be interpreted correctly any way we wish. Some have tried to bend the statements in the Bible to fit their own agenda. That will not work in the long run if we all do what I call Real Bible Study. For example, if we study the Bible using cross references, if we are mistaken about what a verse means, we will shortly encounter a contradiction that will help us correct our mistaken view.

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