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Three Great Prophetic Truths that Transformed the World Part 3: Justice in Society is a Must

If one reads the prophets, he or she will notice rather quickly that one of the great themes of the prophets is a call for justice in society. The wealthy and powerful have a way of getting what they want in life and protecting what they get. Those who lack wealth and power, however, are easily victimized by the ruthless.

The Ancient Near East (the nations around the biblical authors) was a particularly brutal place, geographically, socially, governmentally & religiously. It was a dangerous place to be vulnerable.

The prophets regarded a societal concern for the protection of basic natural rights of ALL people a staple of a godly community, and a must for a godly leader. The rulers of Israel at every level were warned repeatedly by the prophets throughout their ages that they needed to keep an eye out for those who easily fell victim in a cruel world. There were laws in place by which Israelite society was supposed to govern itself as a light and witness to the nations, and those in authority needed to give special attention to a fair administration and enforcement of those laws against rich and poor, sojourner and native, male and female.

Certain members of our modern societies have coined the phrase “social justice” and use this term like they just invented the idea of justice itself.

Social justice, of course, as commonly used by the left has little to nothing to do with just treatment under the law, by which a person’s life, liberty and property are protected regardless of their status in the community. It has everything to do with a small collection of elite decision makers decreeing that some people in society deserve special privileges and advantages in order to counterbalance what these elite decision makers deem to be an unfair starting point or ending point. Indeed, in their case, lady liberty peeks.

The very fact that some people have a different final product in life is reason enough to assume that they are victims of a society that needs to be redesigned by the elite decision makers, who intend to do so with little regard to the natural rights of those who are not their favored mascots, and by seeking the kind of power that will allow them to work with a freehand to change laws and to apply laws as they see fit.

Social Justice means that we are to be “a nation of men”[1] who rule by whim and social engineering agenda, and not a nation of laws and careful processes for making laws to which those in authority must comply.

The prophetic concept of justice, however, was not rooted in some imagined victimhood by which every inequality of result in discernible groups, genders, cultures or subcultures, nations, or races were accredited to systematic corruption. The prophets rooted their call for justice in natural rights that spring from each person’s status as image bearers of God.

In Genesis 6:5, God decrees the societies of men an unsalvageable ruin, saying, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Thus, he goes on in Genesis Gen 6:11-13  Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.  And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

In Genesis 8:21, however, as the seed of humanity emerges from the ark to a world in reset, the condition that led to that irredeemable ruination of the societies of men had not been remedied. God says, “And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, though the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

This presents a problem.

A redeemer was already promised in Genesis 3:15 saying, I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel,” but society needed to be able to sustain itself long enough for this savior to emerge from men into a world that was still redeemable. No more restarts until the consummation of the ages. The solution is set in Genesis 9:6, where God lays down the seed of all just law. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” Man was to govern man and hold each other accountable for their treatment of others.

As divine image bearer, man [male and female/young and old/rich and poor] has an inalienable right to life, which grows naturally into the prophetic portrait of societal justice, (which has little truck with social justice which entails not merely goals but also prescribed sacrosanct methods for achieving those goals.) and lays the foundation for modern conceptions of natural rights to life, liberty and property. Each person, by dint of being human, deserves certain basic freedoms, and those freedoms must be protected in order for a society to reflect the loving care of the divine creator.

It took time, but the world will hopefully never be the same again.

[1] John Adams   In his 7th “Novanglus” letter, published in the Boston Gazette in 1774  wrote we are a nation of laws and not men.

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