Will God or man be the organizing principle of our lives and the source of all that we need?
It comes straight from Satan’s first temptation to man: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” Gen 3:5.
The Old Testament
God as King
When Adam and Woman were in the state of original justice, God was the organizing principle of their lives and the source of all that they needed. He had given them preternatural gifts of bodily immortality, integrity, and infused knowledge, and “every green plant for food” Gen 1:30, all in a beautiful garden with “every tree that is pleasant to the sight” Gen 2:9, and a river of living water Gen 2:10, to sustain their lives. It was all that they needed for paradise.
After Lucifer rebelled against God and fell from heaven Lk 10:18, he continued his war against God‘s image Gen 1:27 on earth by enticing our first parents to rebel against God: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” Gen 3:5. Lucifer had fallen from paradise, and Adam and Woman fell from their paradise.
In 1956 American Jews were still recovering from the Holocaust, and from prejudice against them, when Cecil B. DeMille produced his magnificent film, The Ten Commandments. It began with DeMille himself, emerging from gold and silver curtains, explaining that his unusual introduction was because “we have an unusual subject, the story of the birth of freedom, the story of Moses.” DeMille continued, “The theme of this picture is whether men are to be ruled by God‘s law or by the whims of a dictator like Rameses. Are men the property of the state, or are they free souls under God? The same battle continues throughout the world today.”
DeMille had made a silent Ten Commandments in 1923. That was the time of the major Orthodox Jewish immigration so DeMille hired 250 Orthodox Jews as extras. They didn’t have to act. “These Jews streamed out of the great gates with tears running down their cheeks, and then without prompting or rehearsal, they began singing in Hebrew the old chants of their race, which have been sung in synagogues for thousands of years.”1
In the Land of Israel, during the time of Joshua, about 1300-1200 BC, God again gave his people Israel victory over their enemies. Joshua pointedly observed that God was the organizing principle of our lives and the source of all that they needed, “Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth is to pass over before you into the Jordan” Josh 3:10–11. In the end, “Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work which the LORD did for Israel” Josh 24:31.
God had always taught us that he alone is our true king, the organizing principle of our lives and the source of all that we need. In the desert he made war against Pharaoh’s army Ex 14:28 and gave Israel manna Ex 16:31 for forty years Ex 16:35.
After Joshua’s time Israel went astray but still saw God as the organizing principle of our lives and the source of all that they needed. Like a good shepherd Jn 10:11 who patiently keeps bringing back his strays, “The LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the power of those who plundered them” Judg 2:16. “Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and behaved worse than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them; they did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways” Judg 2:18–19.
When Samuel, 1105-1013 BC, the last of Israel’s holy judges, became old, he made his sons, Joel and Abijah, judges over Israel. But they “turned aside after gain; they took bribes and perverted justice” 1 Sam 8:3. Soon the elders of Israel told Samuel, “You are old and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint for us a king to govern us like all the nations” 1 Sam 8:5. Samuel prayed, and our Lord replied, “They have rejected me from being king over them” 1 Sam 8:7.
A King to Govern Us
But when the Philistines loomed as a major threat, around 1030 BC, Israel told Samuel, “Appoint for us a king to govern us like all the nations” 1 Sam 8:5. “All the nations” were pagan. God told Samuel, “They have rejected me from being king over them” 1 Sam 8:7. God added, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your menservants and maidservants, and the best of your cattle and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the LORD will not answer you in that day” 1 Sam 8:11–18.
Crossing over from God to man as king crosses a crucial line. When we do, demons are instantly alert to the opportunity to use the government to control men. In all of the ancient world except Israel, the city-states worshiped idols. Even in Israel, there was a great deal of idol worship. The idols were demons. No one just goes and worships, as the Egyptians did, gnats, flies, beetles, all sorts of things without being led into it. Demons are very clever at manipulating many kinds of creatures and things to make it appear that they have godlike powers. “They sacrificed to demons which were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come in of late, whom your fathers had never dreaded” Deut 32:17.
The New Testament
A thousand years after Israelites begged, “Appoint for us a king to govern us like all the nations” 1 Sam 8:5, the Sanhedrin and high-ranking Aaronic priests declared, “We have no king but Caesar” Jn 19:15. Even they wanted men organized into governments to be the organizing principle of their lives and the source of all that they needed.
We need not go through all of salvation history to pursue the obvious. The stain of the original sin still runs deeply through souls. Across the centuries, virtually every nation has chosen men, organized into governments, to be the organizing principle of their lives and the source of all that they need.
St. Augustine’s The City of God tells us that the whole history of man is an everlasting battle between two cities, the City of God and the City of Man. Augustine’s preface begins, “The glorious city of God is my theme in this work, which you, my dearest son Marcellinus, suggested, and which is due to you by my promise. I have undertaken its defense against those who prefer their own gods to the Founder of this city.” He adds, “We must speak also of the earthly city, which, though it be mistress of the nations, is itself ruled by its lust of rule.” Fascinating that, as it is today, the City of Man has been ruled by its own lust for power during much, if not all, of salvation history. Holy men recognize Rabbi Yeshua’s supremacy. “Apart from me you can do nothing” Jn 15:5.
Pope Leo XIII, in Sapientiae Christianae, § 14, declared, “Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: ‘Have confidence; I have overcome the world’” Jn 16:33. We Catholics are born for combat! Rabbi Yeshua told us, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you” Lk 10:19. He meant the serpent Gen 3:1 that led our first parents astray, and all the serpents and scorpions, all the demons, that followed him out of heaven. And he meant by “nothing shall hurt you” that we will have the armor of God Eph 6:11 to protect our immortal souls.
Pope Leo XIII‘s Humanum genus ( HG, 1884) describes man’s attempts to build a society without God. It begins § 1, “The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the Creator and the Giver of heavenly gifts, through the envy of the devil, separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it, so as to gain salvation, must of necessity serve God and His only-begotten Son with their whole mind and with an entire will. The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all whosoever follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law, and who have many aims of their own in contempt of God, and many aims also against God.”
HG § 31 identified the City of Man with Freemasonry. “Our predecessors have many times repeated, let no man think that he may for any reason whatsoever join the masonic sect, if he values his Catholic name and his eternal salvation as he ought to value them. Let no one be deceived by a pretense of honesty. It may seem to some that Freemasons demand nothing that is openly contrary to religion and morality; but, as the whole principle and object of the sect lies in what is vicious and criminal, to join with these men or in any way to help them cannot be lawful.”
Leo’s original Latin for “truth and virtue” was veritate et virtute, truth and manhood, truth and fidelity to the truth. An interesting word, virtute. The Church Militant identifies the masculine virtues Eph 5:21–33 with its warrior priesthood, a masculine priesthood whose sword is fidelity to the truth. St. John Paul II confirmed in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis § 4 (Responsum) that priestly ordination is reserved to men alone.
At the same time, “It is not good that the man should be alone” Gen 2:18. God created woman ezer kenegdo, responsible for protecting the men in her life from their propensity to sin. Women’s strategies are different, but with the Blessed Virgin Mary as their model they can be extremely effective. Father Hardon declared, in his homily on Mary Magdalene on April 2, 1991:
The role of women over the centuries in the Church of God is to help men give themselves, as only a woman can, with their whole heart to the God who became man out of love for us. That, that is the real role of women: to inspire us men with selfless, extravagant—we men think it’s excessive—love for Jesus Christ so that we—more cold, more calculating—might be inspired to love our Lord not just with our whole head but with our whole heart.
Since then the war has continued on earth. Rabbi Yeshua declared it in his Sermon on the Mount § 1716, “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” Mt 5:11.
Rabbi Yeshua told us, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” Lk 12:51. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is no boring recitation of doctrines but an exciting battleground in the spiritual war. From its introduction, it has come under attack. Russell Shaw asked and answered, why American catechists don’t teach the catechism.
The war continues in our time between the Cross of Christ and the Swastika, a cross twisted and broken by an enraged demon. Already we see on the world stage two men, one intent on glorifying himself, the other intent on glorifying God. There are two ways of fighting it: Bishop Barron proposes love as the Catholic‘s instrument of battle. The Cristeros fought with the blood of martyrs. The whole armor of God needs both Eph 6:13. It will continue until Rabbi Yeshua’s Second Coming.
The Commandment and the War
God’s First Commandment to man is: § 2084-2094 “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve” Ex 20:2–5. Rabbi Yeshua re-stated it: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” Mt 22:37.
Many Jews, Catholics and Protestants are only dimly aware of this war which has been going on since the beginning of time and will end at the end of time. Satan tries to conceal his existence. Anyone with military experience knows the most effective attacks are from cover. All Jews, Catholics and Protestants need to know Satan exists, and need to know his strategies. Rabbi Yeshua‘s forces follow him into battle, so we always, “Do whatever he tells you” Jn 2:5. We concentrate on Rabbi Yeshua. We focus all our attention on Rabbi Yeshua through the Church that he instituted to be his visible presence on earth. Second Exodus highlights the spiritual war to make it plainly visible to all Jews, Catholics and Protestants.
On Rabbi Yeshua‘s side are all who follow him through the Catholic Church, the divine institution he built to be the organizing principle of our lives, as well as others who through their own faith communities believe firmly that God is and should be the organizing principle of our lives and the source of all that we need. On the demonic side are all who oppose the Catholic Church in its teaching of divine law, for instance all who support abortion, opposing God’s Fifth Commandment, “You shall not kill” Ex 20:13. On matters limited to prudent judgment, opposition to a pope’s private opinion does not indicate demonic influence. However, when government follows a consistent pattern of opposing the Church, such as in efforts to regulate Christmas celebrations, demonic influence is likely.
In the spiritual war, Rabbi Paul reminds us, “We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” Eph 6:12. Because most men are only dimly aware of spiritual war, many on Satan’s side honestly believe that they are doing good. This is why Rabbi Yeshua taught us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Mt 5:44. He meant it. His first words on the Cross were, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” Lk 23:34. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” Jn 13:35.
God, who lives in eternity, does not change Mal 3:6. He still wills to provide all the government we need Mt 23:37. Rabbi Yeshua asked the scribes and the chief priests, the government in their time, whose likeness and description were on Caesar’s coins, and they replied, “Caesar’s.” Rabbi Yeshua replied, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” Lk 20:25. Our immortal souls are God’s image and likeness Gen 1:27 so we are to give them to God. His emphasis has always been on the spiritual realm, preparing our souls for eternal life with him. The temporal realm, including coins, could be given to governments Mt 17:27.