In the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, New International Version (NIV), states, “for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” Of course, this refers to the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that we should all be ready, as we know not the time of Christ’s return. It’s a clarion call to have one’s spiritual house in order. It’s just like in combat, where you must be most aware in the hours of darkness, prepared for what could come — hence the practice of “stand to” because you want full readiness in those early hours of the day.
Then there are the times when the thief indeed comes at night to steal away that which defines our Judeo-Christian faith heritage. Such happened in the late night hours in Oklahoma City recently.
As reported by KOCO.com:The granite monument of the Ten Commandments has been removed from the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds and moved to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs’ offices.
A contractor removed the monument around 10:30 p.m. on Monday. It was immediately installed at its new location.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol had increased security around the monument earlier Monday, and barriers were erected to keep visitors from getting close to it. Estus said the decision to remove the monument under the cover of darkness was made to avoid disturbing workers at the Capitol and to keep protesters from demonstrating while heavy equipment was being used to detach the two-ton monument from its base.“We wanted it to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible, and doing it at night gave us the best opportunity to do that,” Estus said. “The Highway Patrol was also very concerned that having it in the middle of the day could lead to having demonstrations of some kind.”
Originally authorized by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2009, the privately funded monument has been a lightning rod for controversy since it was erected in 2012, prompting a lawsuit from Bruce Prescott, a Baptist minister from Norman who complained it violated the state constitution.“Frankly, I’m glad we finally got the governor and attorney general to agree to let the monument be moved to private property, which is where I believe it’s most appropriate,” Prescott said Monday. “I’m not opposed to the Ten Commandments. The first sermon I ever preached was on the Ten Commandments. I’m just opposed to it being on public property.”
I find the words of Pastor Prescott rather disconcerting. Should we remove the Declaration of Independence from public property? After all, it declares our unalienable rights are endowed by our Creator. What about the full face of the man who received the Ten Commandments from God, Moses? Should his image not be shown in the U.S. House of Representatives — public property? The Supreme Court already heard and decided a case involving the Ten Commandments’ display on the “public property” of the Texas state capitol — the Ten Commandments stayed. And what about the official motto of the United States, “In God We Trust”? Those words are displayed above the Speaker of the House rostrum — public property. Shall those words be removed?
Sorry, but I have to ask, what type of pastor is this Prescott fella? He certainly doesn’t seem cut from the same cloth as the infamous “Black Robed Brigade” of our Revolutionary War. Why would a Christian minister bring forth a lawsuit against the very basic rules of law that formed western civilization? Why would a Christian pastor join in on the false narrative that public display of the Ten Commandments is controversial? The monument was not purchased by public funds. And it’s not a violation of the concept of separation of church and state — which doesn’t mean the eradication of our Judeo-Christian faith heritage from the public square.
Jefferson wrote in his personal letter to the Danbury Baptist Convention — how very ironic — that we wouldn’t have a head of state who’s also the head of church in America. That’s the essence of the establishment clause. But the real crux behind Jefferson’s intent was to not allow the level of religious persecution that drove people from England to the shores of America. Yet, it seems Pastor Prescott is not cognizant of that intent, nor the real history of separation of church and state. The Ten Commandments have historical, legal and spiritual importance for the United States — after all, the 56 signers of the Declaration sought Divine providence.
I’ve given a speech for the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs (OCPA) and glad to see this monument found a new home. It pains me to know, however, that we removed God’s law like thieves in the middle of the night.
Its placement at the Capitol prompted requests from several groups to have their own monuments installed, including a satanic church in New York that wanted to erect a 7-foot-tall statue that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard. A Hindu leader in Nevada, an animal rights group and the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster also made requests.
The original monument was smashed into pieces last year when someone drove a car across the Capitol lawn and crashed into it. A 29-year-old man who was arrested the next day was admitted to a hospital for mental health treatment, and formal charges were never filed. A new monument was erected in January.
I’m quite sure there are those, such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, who believe they’ve achieved a great victory. I think not. If anything, the constant assault against Christians and our Judeo-Christian faith heritage and values is causing an unseen groundswell. At the end of the movie “War Room,” the matriarch character gives a closing prayer and calls upon the Lord God to “Raise them up Lord” — and such will happen.
Last presidential election cycle, 7-8 million evangelical Christians sat it out — and look what’s happened since. It’s not just that Christians are being crucified, beheaded and driven from their ancestral homelands — such as Mosul, Iraq, which now has not a single Christian for the first time in 2,000 years. Here in America, we have Christians being shot after answering for their faith. We have Christians being fined by the state — Jefferson’s fear of persecution based upon religious convictions — for their beliefs. We have Christians in America receiving death threats because of their beliefs.
We have the Ten Commandments being removed under the cover of darkness because they are controversial. What if Christ had come as a “thief in the night” Monday evening in Oklahoma City?
I’m not a perfect man, but I seek the will in my life of a perfect God and His word says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, New International Version (NIV), “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Gotta ask yourselves America, are we ready if He comes like a “thief in the night”? I close with the Ten Commandments, which I’m proud to display in this public space.
Exodus 20, New International Version (NIV), The Ten Commandments:
And God spoke all these words:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
Monday night in Oklahoma City, we failed the test.