A City On a Hill, If You Can Keep It

Source: Conservative Review | March 25, 2016 | Steve Deace

The history behind the religious observances known as Passover and Easter are not just foundational to the Jewish and Christian faiths, but also to the founding of the United States of America.

The story of the Passover displays the awesome power of the one, true living God in whose image we are made. Through a series of plagues He inflicts upon the tyrannical kingdom of Egypt and its pagan pantheon, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob demonstrates that He alone is God—and there is no other. That the state is not god, despite Pharaoh’s claims to the contrary, nor are the false idols the state demands the people worship.

To make plain His sovereignty, the God of Israel selects a defrocked member of the Egyptian court, who is now a lowly shepherd because he defied the state and stood up for his fellow Jew, to be His people’s deliverer. 

His name is Moses.

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It is from this story the founding generations of this country established what our Declaration of Independence refers to as “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” In fact, the original basis for our civic laws comes right from the law revealed through Moses:

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Then there’s Easter, which is so integral to Christianity there isn’t Christianity without it.

Either the God of Israel supernaturally intervened into human history to raise from the dead His only begotten Son named Jesus Christ, himself a Jew, or He did not. Christianity leaves no middle ground for interpretation here, but simply puts the onus on each individual to believe or not believe based on the evidence (faith and reason).

Making each individual responsible for their belief or unbelief demonstrates how individualism is prioritized in Christianity. While the Jews were given a covenant as a people reconciled to God as a distinct culture, Christianity says every individual in the world can now be reconciled to God through Christ—who paid for their sins at the Cross. No matter where they live, how they look, or what language they speak.

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The emphasis Christianity places on the individual was a great influence on our Founders, many of whom were Christians. Hence, they established a government where rights and liberties were granted by God to individuals, not through a collective like government, and were not based on a group identity or social status.

Both Passover and Easter prove the God we serve is not a passive being, nor does He turn a blind eye to sin and injustice. That He will go to great lengths to put rebellious regimes in their place, but also to seek and save those who are lost. These two events are not merely religious theory, but actual history that transformed the world and inspired the founding of the world’s greatest nation—the United States of America.

And we will suffer consequences for abandoning these truths. As the great Puritan Founder John Winthrop said in his famous “City on a Hill” speech, citing the words of Moses from the Torah:

“But if our hearts shall turn away so that we will not obey. But shall be seduced and worship other gods of our pleasures and profits and serve them, it is propounded to us this day we shall surely perish out of the good land whether we pass over this vast sea to possess it. Therefore, let us choose life that we and our children may live. By obeying His law and cleaving to Him. For He is our life and our prosperity.”

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