Who is King in America? It is not who most would think!
Who is the KING in America?
Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary defined "KING" as:
"KING, n. 1. The chief or SOVEREIGN of a nation; a man invested with supreme authority over a nation, tribe or country; a monarch. Kings are absolute."
Kings have "subjects" who are subjected to their will.
The word "citizen" is Greek, and has the connotation of co-ruler, co-sovereign, co-king.
"Polis" is the Greek word for city, and "politics" was simply the " business of the city."
The Greek city-state of Athens had about 6,000 citizens, and every citizen had to be at the marketplace everyday to talk politics.
Citizens who refused to get involve d in the politics were liable to penalties.
If citizens were not involved, they did not know what was going on, so they were called "idiotes."
W.D. Ross wrote in Aristotle (London, Methuen, 1937, p. 247):
"Aristotle's ... citizen is not content to have a say in the choosing of his rulers; every citizen is actually to rule ... not merely in the sense of being a member of the executive, but in the sense ... of helping to make the laws of his state."
The word "demos" means "people" and "cracy" means "to rule."
A "democracy" is where the citizens are king - ruling directly.
The word "democracy," in the broad sense, generally refers to people being involved in ruling, but as a specific political system, "democracy" only ever worked on a small, city-wide basis, where everyone could be present at every meeting.
Larger than a city, it broke down, as not every citizen could be there everyday.
A "republic" is where the citizens are king, ruling indirectly , through their representatives.
Republics could grow larger, as citizens could take care of their families and farms, and send representatives in their place to go to the market everyday to talk politics.
Americans pledge allegiance to the flag "and to the republic for which it stands."
We are basically pledging allegiance to us being in charge of ourselves.
Webster's 1828 Dictionary defined "REPUBLIC" as:
"A state in which the exercise of the sovereign power is lodged in representatives elected by THE PEOPLE."
When someone protests the flag, they are effectively saying, "I don't want to be king anymore - I protest this system where the people rule themselves."
A "constitutional" republic is where a constitution lays out the rules of how to elect representatives, what their functions are, and what are the limitations of their power.
The experiment of an American republic began at a time when most of the world was ruled by kings, sultans, emperors, czars, and chieftains.
Nearly a century before Europe's "Age of Enlightenment," Pilgrims and Puritans fled from the King of England to settle New England.
In 1636, a Congregational minister, Rev. Thomas Hooker, and his church, fled again from Puritan Massachusetts to found Hartford, Connecticut.
His church members asked him to preach a sermon on how they should set up their government.
Rev. Hooker preached a sermon, May 31, 1638, explaining:
"Deuteronomy 1:13 'CHOOSE YOU wise men and understanding and known among your tribes and I will make them heads over you captains over thousands, captains over hundreds, fifties, tens ...'"
Rev. Hooker continued:
"The choice of public magistrates belongs unto THE PEOPLE by Gods own allowance ... The privilege of election ... belongs to THE PEOPLE ... according to the blessed will and law of God ...
They who have power to appoint officers and magistrates it is in their power also to set the bounds and limits of the power and places unto which they call them ...
The foundation of authority is laid firstly in the free consent of THE PEOPLE."
In Hartford's Travelers Square there is a bronze statue of Connecticut's first settlers with a plaque, which reads:
"In June of 1635, about one hundred members of Thomas Hooker's congregation arrived safely in this vicinity with one hundred and sixty cattle. They followed old Indian trails from Massachusetts Bay Colony to the Connecticut River to build a community.
Here they established the form of government upon which the present Constitution of the United States is modeled."
Acknowledging how rare America's republic was, Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1801 to Joseph Priestley (ME 10:229):
"We can no longer say there is nothing new under the sun. For this whole chapter in the history of man is new.
The great extent of our republic is new. Its sparse habitation is new. The mighty wave of public opinion which has rolled over it is new."
President Theodore Roosevelt stated in 1903:
"In NO other place and at NO other time has the experiment of government of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, for the PEOPLE, been tried on so vast a scale as here in our own country."
Signer of the Constitution Gouverneur Morris stated:
"This magistrate is not the king. The PEOPLE are the KING."
John Jay, the First Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote in Chisholm v. Georgia, 1793:
"The PEOPLE are the SOVEREIGN of this country."
Signer of Constitution James Wilson stated at the Pennsylvania Convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution:
"SOVEREIGNTY resides in THE PEOPLE; they have not parted with it."
Thomas Jefferson wrote to William Johnson, 1823:
"But the Chief Justice says, 'There must be an ULTIMATE ARBITER somewhere.' True, there must ... The ULTIMATE ARBITER is THE PEOPLE."
James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 46, 1788:
"The ULTIMATE AUTHORITY ... resides in THE PEOPLE ALONE."
Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in the case of Cohens v. Virginia, 1821:
"THE PEOPLE made the Constitution, and THE PEOPLE can unmake it. It is the creature of their own will, and lives only by their will."
Abraham Lincoln stated in a debate with Stephen Douglas:
"THE PEOPLE of these United States are the rightful MASTERS of both congresses and courts."
President Andrew Jackson wrote to William B. Lewis, August 19, 1841:
"THE PEOPLE are the government, administering it by their agents; they are the government, the SOVEREIGN POWER."
President James K. Polk stated December 7, 1847:
"The PEOPLE are the only SOVEREIGNS recognized by our Constitution ...
The success of our admirable system is a conclusive refutation of the theories of those in other countries who maintain that a 'favored few' are born to rule and that the mass of mankind must be governed by force."
Instead of Europe's "divine right of kings," President Grover Cleveland stated of the United States, July 13, 1887:
"The SOVEREIGNTY of SIXTY MILLIONS of FREE PEOPLE, is ... the working out ... of t he divine right of man to govern himself and a manifestation of God's plan concerning the human race."
General Omar Bradley stated in 1948:
"In the United States it is the PEOPLE who are SOVEREIGN ... The Government is theirs to speak their voice and to voice their will."
President Gerald Ford stated at Southern Methodist University, September 13, 1975:
"Never forget that in America our SOVEREIGN is the CITIZEN ...
The State is a servant of the individual. It must never become an anonymous monstrosity that masters everyone."
Ronald Reagan opened the John Ashbrook Center in 1983, stating of America's founders:
"The Founding Fathers understood that only by making government the servant, not the master, only by positing SOVEREIGNTY in THE PEOPLE and not the state can we hope to protect freedom."
Opening the Constitutional Convention, George Washington exclaimed:
"The event is in the hand of God."
Romans 13:1 "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established."
In America, God allowed our founders to set up a system where the PEOPLE are the governing authority.
Politicians are simply elected servants, hired and fired by the will of the PEOPLE through the election process.
Of course, America's founders held the assumption was that there would be no voter fraud in the election process.
If you think of our "democratically-elected constitutional republic" as amazing genetically-engineered seed, which has the potential to yield a great harvest.
But what do you do with seeds? You plant them in soil.
The soil is the beliefs held by the people.
The last century has seen multiple examples of the failure of "nation-building," where a dictator is overthrown, a new nation is set up with a constitution, only to have it quickly revert back to dictatorship.
This has been the case in former Soviet states, which had 70 years of atheism plowed into its soil, and in Middle Eastern Islamic states, which have no concept of equality before the law of men and women, infidels and non-infidels.
What most political science classes miss it that our seed - "democratically-elected constitutional republic" is designed to work in "Judeo-Christian" soil.
John Adams wrote October 11, 1798:
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other ..."
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.
Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net."
Another question that needs to be asked is, if the PEOPLE are KING, who are the COUNSELORS to the KING?
In 374 AD, the Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius I went to church in Milan, Italy, where the pastor was the Bishop St. Ambrose.
Imagine what it must have been like to be Bishop St. Ambrose with the Emperor sitting in your church pew.
Yet that is exactly what is the case in America.
A recent Pew poll reports that 65 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian.
This is down from 70 percent just a few years ago in 2015, but still a majority.
Most Christians attend church and listen to their pastors.
The pastors in America are, in a sense, counselors to the KING.
With that in mind, a scene from the movie The Lord of the Rings provides an allegory.
King Theodon's kingdom was on the verge of destruction as he had been asleep - under a spell.
A wicked counselor to the King was Wormtongue, who whispers in the King's ear to stay asleep even though his kingdom is being overrun.
Another counselor to the King is Gandalf, who breaks the evil spell and wakes the king up.
King Theodon dramatically comes to his senses and takes his sword.
This scene demonstrates two different kinds of Pastors:
- one kind of pastor, like Wormtongue, are those who whisper in the ear of the "KING-PEOPLE" to stay asleep even though their kingdom faces destruction;
- the other kind of pastor, like Gandalf, are those who want the "KING PEOPLE" to wake up and take responsibility to rule - a responsibility for which they will be held accountable before God.
It is the pastors' job to wake up the King!
In America, each citizen, in a sense, gets to be the king of his or her own life, and together, co-kings of the country, and each has the voluntary opportunity of willingly surrendering their lives to Jesus - the King of Kings.
Psalm 110:3 "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."
Just as Jesus saves through Christians preaching the Gospel; and Jesus' love is expressed through His followers caring for the needy; would it not follow that Jesus being King is manifested through members of His Body taking responsibility for what happens in their communities!
Consider an illustration:
Imagine traveling through a kingdom to visit a KING, and on the way, you witness all kinds of crime and corruption.
As you enter the KING's chamber, he reluctantly looks up at you and asks, "Did you see all the crime and corruption as you came in here ... I wish someone would fix this mess."
You reach over and tap the KING on shoulder, telling him that HE is the KING, that this is HIS kingdom, and that HE is the one accountable to God to fix this mess!
That is like someone in America watching television, seeing all kinds of crime and corruption, and saying "I wish someone would fix this mess."
Hello -- a finger should reach through the TV screen and tap you on the shoulder saying "you are the KING. You are the one accountable to God to fix this mess."
Someone may say, yes, but I need someone to tell me what to do.
Since when does the King sit on his throne and yell out, can someone tell me what to do? Butler, cook, can someone come over and tell me what I suppose to do.
No -- in America, it is your job to get educated on the issues, seek God's will, and you tell your representatives what is supposed to happen. You are the King!
Voting is not just a privilege, but a responsibility.
Pastors need to warn their church members, "You do not just have the right to vote in America, you will be held accountable to God for what happens in America!"
If you allow schools to teach little children sexually immoral things, that Jesus would never teach, Jesus said:
"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. "
James Wilson wrote in his Lectures on Law, 1790-91:
"In a free country, EVERY CITIZEN forms a part of the SOVEREIGN POWER: he possesses a vote."
Not to VOTE is to abdicate the throne!
Some say, "Don't Vote, just trust God!"
During the Revolution, Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull wrote:
"To trust altogether to the justice of our cause, without our utmost exertion, would be tempting Providence."
Billy Graham stated:
"Bad politicians are elected by good people who don't vote."
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., criticized silent pastors:
"The Church is the conscience of the State."
The first well-recorded instances in history of people choosing their leaders was ancient Israel.
When they came out of Egypt, Moses' father-in-law Jethro gave advice to Moses. Exodus 18:21 states:
"Moreover thou shalt provide OUT OF ALL THE PEOPLE able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens."
"Moses spake unto the children of Israel ... How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance ... TAKE YOU wise men, and understanding, and KNOWN AMONG YOUR TRIBES, and I will make them rulers over you."
"Judges and officers SHALT THOU MAKE THEE IN ALL THY GATES which the Lord thy God giveth thee throughout thy tribes."
One of America's first elections occurred in Woburn, Massachusetts, which was founded in 1642 by Captain Edward Johnson, a contemporary of Governor John Winthrop.
Captain Edward Johnson described the town's original election in Wonder-Working Providences of Sion's Saviour in New England, 1654:
"The number of faithful people of Christ...gather into a church ...
Having fasted and prayed ... they joined together in a holy Covenant with the Lord and with one another ...
Those who are chosen to a place in government, must be men truly fearing God, wise and learned in the truths of Christ ...
Neither will any Christian of a sound judgment vote for any, but those who earnestly contend for the faith."
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of elections in Democracy in America, 1835:
"If a political character attacks a (religious) sect, this may not prevent even the partisans of that very sect from supporting him;
but if he attacks all the sects together, every one abandons him and he remains alone ...
Moreover, all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity."
President Calvin Coolidge commented on elections in a Radio Address, NOVEMBER 3, 1924:
"I therefore urge upon all the voters of our country, without reference to party,
that they assemble ... at their respective voting places in the exercise of the high office of American citizenship,
that they approach the ballot box in the spirit that they would approach a sacrament, and there, disregarding all appeals to passion and prejudice, dedicate themselves truly and wholly to the welfare of their country ..."
"When an election is so held, it ... sustains the belief that the voice of the people is the voice of God."
On September 20, 2001, President George W. Bush addressed Congress after the 911 Islamic terrorist attack:
"Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists ... They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, OUR FREEDOM TO VOTE."
President Calvin Coolidge stated in 1924:
"The history of government on this earth has been almost entirely ... rule of force held in the HANDS OF A FEW.
Under our Constitution, America committed itself to power in the HANDS OF THE PEOPLE."
John Adams wrote:
"Thirteen (State) governments thus founded on the natural authority of THE PEOPLE alone."
Ronald Reagan stated in 1961:
"In this country of ours took place the GREATEST REVOLUTION that has ever taken place IN THE WORLD'S HISTORY ...
Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another ...
Here for the first time in all the THOUSANDS OF YEARS of man's relation to man ...
the founding fathers established the idea that YOU and I had WITHIN OURSELVES the GOD-GIVEN RIGHT and ABILITY TO DETERMINE OUR OWN DESTINY."
On November 6, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in Hyde Park, NY:
"Tomorrow ... the people of the United States again vote as free men and women, with full freedom of choice - with no secret police watching over your shoulders.
And for generations to come Americans will continue to prove their faith in free elections ..."
"In the midst of fighting ... our soldiers and sailors and airmen will not forget election day back home.
Millions of these men have already cast their own ballots, and they will be wondering about the outcome of the election, and what it will mean to them in their future lives ... for the cause of decency and freedom and civilization ..."
"We need strength and wisdom which is greater than is bequeathed to mere mortals. We need Divine help and guidance ...
People of America have ever had a deep well of religious strength, far back to the days of the Pilgrim Fathers.
You will find it fitting that I read a prayer ;..
'Almighty God ... Thou hast gathered our people out of many lands and races into a great Nation. We commend to Thy overruling providence the men and women of our forces by sea, by land, and in the air ...
Enable us to guard for the least among us the freedom we covet for ourselves ... Preserve our union against all the divisions of race and class which threaten it ...
May the blessing of God Almighty rest upon this whole land; May He give us light to guide us, courage to support us, charity to unite us.'"
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