From Jim O'Brien
November 30, 2017

Hi Friend,

Government of the People

One of the greatest and most misunderstood miracles in the Bible occurred when the Apostle Peter saw a vision of a large sheet lowered from heaven with all kinds of strange animals on it. He had fallen into a trance and heard a voice say, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." (Acts 10:13 NIV) He did something he would not have done in life. In his dream state Peter, an Apostle, refused a command from an angel from heaven.

We forget that Peter was a Jew and had never eaten unclean meats. He was not a crawfish hunter from the Louisiana Bayou. He had shared hundreds of meals with Jesus, also a Jew, for more than three years and in all that time neither he nor Jesus had eaten anything unclean. Now a voice is telling him to eat some obnoxious creature that just crawled out from under a rock.

For some people the story ends here. God was telling man it was time to begin eating pig and lobster. It really is a shame that the profound meaning of this story has been diminished to such a shallow level. People who draw that conclusion overlook that Peter rejected that meaning. There is more to the story.

Peter is pondering what this vision means at about the time some strangers knock on the door. The men had been sent by a gentile who wanted to be baptized into the Christian faith. Today, we find nothing remarkable about a non-Jew becoming a Christian.

Why was it so strange then? Peter was a Jew. They were better than gentiles. So much better, in fact, the accepted name for gentiles was "dogs."

But Peter, only because the Holy Spirit urged him, went to the home of Cornelius, where he found "a large gathering of people," relatives and close friends of Cornelius, waiting for him. More Gentiles. An entire house full. A Jew would never enter such a house.

They asked that Peter teach them God's law and Peter uttered a phrase that echoed more than 1,500 years into the future to the founders of America. "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons."

This phrase is the basis for equality under the law. God used a series of miracles to show Peter that man's station in life, his race, sex or color isn't important. Before God we're all equal.

What that meant to the Founding Fathers was that the king is just as much a subject of the law as every other citizen. The Christian concept is that no man is above the law and America incorporated this Christian principle into our constitution. Citizens became responsible to hold the king accountable to a higher power thus ending the idea of the "Divine right of a King" to rule.

This principle taught to Peter by a divine miracle became the basis for the Magna Carta, the basis for Oliver Cromwell and the Regicides to execute King Charles I and the justification for America to throw off the tyrannical rule of King George III.

The value of the common man became a founding principle for America and it all began on Pentecost when God gave His Spirit to gentiles. It had to be a visible miracle of "tongues of fire" which came down from heaven on "each person" in the congregation. Not just priests, not just men, but every person in the room.

America's founders recognized the intrinsic goodness of this act and incorporated this unique principle into the soul of America. Government would be "of the people, by the people and for the people."

In America citizens are called on to judge whether one candidate or the other is better. Is it right for a Christian to make such a judgment? All we need do is look to the Apostle Paul who admonished the Congregation at Corinth who had abrogated their right to judge. Paul asked, "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?" (1 Cor. 6:2-3)

The Pilgrims who settled America envisioned the Law of God to be the law of America. Will such laws be maintained by non-believers? As the Founding Fathers used the Holy Bible as a guide to establish this country, let us use it to judge who should rule over us.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien