Ancient Jewish Wisdom, Everybody Needs A Rabbi: This is the first part of a three-part series with Rabbi Lapin at the Pro-Family Legislators Conference. Rabbi Lapin does a great job at pointing out where we are in America as a Christian nation and how we’ve got to be more certain about what we believe and how important it is for us to realize why these principles are necessary to keep freedom alive in our country. Rabbi Lapin also gives an interesting perspective on what our laws are based on. In this episode, he answers these questions, “What does the Bible actually say about taxes, laws, and government control?” Tune in now to find out.
Air Date: 01/22/2018
Guest: Rabbi Lapin
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, all of it from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor, and the president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator.
Later in the program, Rabbi Daniel Lapin will be sharing with us from the Pro-Family Legislators Conference. A fantastic presentation there. David, Tim, always excited to have Rabbi Lapin. We have him on the program quite often. This one’s a little different, it’s actually him speaking to legislators and it’s a bit of a warning, but it applies to our listeners out there as well.
You know, Rick, Rabbi Lapin has been such a revolutionary kind of guy for our legislators. Hopefully for listeners as well, but I can’t tell you–
We could even say for us.
What An Epiphany
For us. I was going to say I can’t tell you how many times Tim and I have called him individually when we come up with something and he says, “Well, that’s okay, but have you thought about it this way?” Oh, my gosh, what an epiphany.
Well, I’m grateful for Bible software where there’s Logos, different things, all kinds of different websites whether it’s Bible Gateway or Bible Hub, and all these different places you can go. There are different apps now. I’m grateful for all of that, but as much help as it is for me to look at the Hebrew or the Greek, it still doesn’t quite take the place for the Old Testament as an e-mail to Rabbi Lapin. Because I go, “Rabbi, I was reading in a couple different translations and some translations said this, and some translations said this, and the Hebrew word is this, and I’m not really sure–” And he says, “Well, ancient Jewish wisdom–”
And then he gives me this incredible lecture and I go, “Wow, I’m so much smarter right now. Thank you. I’m very grateful. That really explains it.” It really is amazing to be able to have a guy you can go to and that’s why we call him “our Rabbi”.
But he really has helped us think so differently from a Biblical perspective. Even though we’ve always loved the Bible, we’ve always tried to think Biblically. We didn’t realize how we weren’t thinking Biblically in some areas until he pointed out, “Well, here’s what that is.”
Well, you really hit a key because you said, “Well, look in the Word, and in the Word it says this, and, Rabbi, will you help explain the Word?” And he says, “Ancient Jewish wisdom–” What he does is, “You’re looking the Word, let me show you the way it was for 2000 years, or for a thousand years, or for fifteen hundred years.” And so he gives you the context, the background, everything.
Testifying on Global Warming
And I’ve shared the example before occasionally, but I’ll do it again is, when I was called to the U.S. Senate to testify on global warming, that’s what I was looking at was global warming. He said, “Well, let me give you the perspective of Genesis 1 through 3.” And then he just walked through those three chapters and I go, “Oh my gosh, that was so easy. Now I see exactly where global warming fits.” And I was so fixated on the issue that I just missed the ancient Jewish wisdom.
And so he’s so good for our legislators because he comes in with that perspective. And ancient Jewish wisdom has been dealing with law for how long? My gosh, God made a nation out of Israel and gave them law. So, it’s great for our guys.
Well, and the Biblical foundation in the midst of it, right? And so when he came this year to our legislators conference, just like every time we hear him, it’s so strong, there’s so much Biblical truth. And so even though it’s something that certainly applies to law, to the things we want our nations, our states, our counties, the way we want them to operate, it’s something that really is just Biblical understanding. Certainly even a lot of practical application from what he said and we thought, “We really we ought to share this with our listeners because it’s so good. We want them to enjoy, and learn, and grow, the way that we have enjoyed, and learned, and grown, from this teaching.”
Over the next three days, we’re going to take his teaching and break it into segments. I was sitting by guys as he was doing this that go, “Oh my gosh, that’s so deep. Oh that’s good.” And, “Wait, say that again, I’m trying to write it down.” It was just such an epiphany for them.
So, we think you’re really enjoy this. It’s, again, broken into three days. But this is Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
We’re going to go straight to the Pro-Family Legislators Conference. This is Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
From The Pro-Family Legislators Conference
Rabbi Daniel Lapin:
Good morning, everybody. And thanks for the welcome, but let’s not waste any time. We’ve got much to do this morning. I’m just so happy to see you all because you really, I’m sure everyone tells you that you guys are the point of the spear. And I’m just so moved to be able to be here and to be able to participate at least in a small and indirect kind of a way.
And I’m also moved to be with David and Cheryl Barton. Susan and I have been close to David and Cheryl for many, many, many, years. And not only do we regard them as dear, dear, friends, but we see them as national treasures. We see David and Cheryl as enormously valuable assets in the struggle to restore America to its spiritual roots. Now, I’m willing and eager to stand beside David anywhere and anytime.
And so to be able to be here together with you all at a truly one of the most important gatherings of the year. In my view, this is one of the most important gatherings of the year. To be here with you, and to be here with David and Cheryl, and with everyone else at WallBuilders really moves– I’m tempted to say, “moves me beyond words”, but of course, that would be untrue for any rabbi. In fact, you know who our first rabbi was of course, it was Moses. And back at the beginning of the Exodus Chapter 3, he told the Lord, “I am not a man of words.”
And then he didn’t shut up for forty years. Well, the good news is that I will not be speaking for 40 years. Not even for 40 days. And if you will have me, and not reject me prematurely, I might be here for 40 minutes. But we have a lot to learn from Moses nonetheless.
“A Microscopic Morsel of Moral Misgiving…”
Rabbi Daniel Lapin:
Even if it isn’t a question of timing. What we do have to learn from Moses is perhaps the single most important point, the take away, of what I want to express. Not only this morning, but at all times I have an opportunity to speak to people who are actually in the trenches and fighting the battle. And that is, that even a microscopic morsel of moral misgiving absolutely pulverizes your ability to project persuasively. Even a microscopic morsel of moral misgiving pulverizes our ability to project persuasively.
And we saw that happen with Moses again, and again, and again. Every time the people rebelled, it was following a moment or a period of Moses losing the vision himself. When the leader loses that moral certitude everything falls apart. And that moral certitude derives from only one place. Let me give you an example if I may.
The Bible is unequivocal that when a human being passes on and returns to his Father in heaven, his belongings now go to his children. That is really important. It is part of the parent-child compact. It’s part of how God described reality. Now I just want to clarify one thing and that is that we’ve all got clear the difference between descriptive law and prescriptive law.
The prescriptive law is law that somebody sat in committee and came up with the law. It could have been that way, it could have been a little bit differently, that’s prescriptive law. A 55 mile an hour national speed limit was prescriptive law. It was not one that I personally adhered to vigilantly because I had a car, at the time, that was congenitally incapable of traveling at low speeds. It just wasn’t happy doing so.
And I felt no major problem. If I was caught, I paid the fine and that was it. But that was a prescriptive law. You are free to violate it and deal with the consequences if there are any. They are not going to be consequences every time.
But there are also, in this world of ours, descriptive laws. Now a descriptive law is a little bit different. A descriptive law would be an example is the law of gravity. The law of gravity states that if you step out of a 20th floor window, you will have a fast and exciting ride for only six seconds. At the end of that, the abrupt stop is decidedly unpleasant and usually fatal.
Prescriptive and Descriptive Laws
Rabbi Daniel Lapin:
The speed with which you fall will increase at the rate of thirty-two feet per second, every single second. That’s a law. And Isaac Newton, when he laid out the law of universal gravitation, specified that. But what would have happened if Isaac Newton would have got out of bed on the other side that morning and he would have said, “You know what, I think will make the law of gravity forty-nine feet per second squared.” It’s nonsense.
His law isn’t proscriptive- he didn’t prescribe it. It’s not as if before Newton Englishman used to float around the English countryside like untethered helium balloons. No, gravity is a reality and all Newton did was describe that reality. Now the great big secrets of Biblical law is that it is descriptive, not prescriptive. Violate it at your will, but there’s not a slight chance of your getting caught, like the speed limit, it’s an absolute inevitability.
It’s like stepping out of a 20th floor window. The descriptions in the law are descriptive of how the world really works. That’s it. And so when the Bible tells us that a person’s possessions after he goes home to God should move to his children, that is a description of how the world works. Interfere with that at your will, but know that you will pay the penalty.
You will disrupt society by shattering that primal and covenantal link between parents and children. Once my children are exactly the same as all the other children in the world, and the government will pick up some on the way, it will collect my possessions. And it says it’s not fair that only your children should benefit from your industry and skill, and diligence, and faithfulness, through a lifetime of productivity. No, all the children of the world, or at of the country, deserve it. We’ll undistributed for you and pick up a small commission on the way.
That’s called the inheritance tax. More, some people appropriately call it the death tax. It is profoundly immoral. There’s no question about that. It is downright wrong and it leads to sheer chaos.
You Will Pay the Price
Rabbi Daniel Lapin:
It contributes to the collapsing of the moral fabric of society. It’s like stepping out of the 20th floor window. You can try it, but you will pay the price. And the only difference between what we’re talking about and stepping out of the window is, that stepping out of the window, you pay the price in six seconds. The problem is that the time frame is long when you start tampering with the laws of inheritance.
It can take not six seconds, it might take six years, it might take 26 years, but you will undoubtedly be contributing to the unraveling of the family structure in your society.
And the worst part of it all is that cause and effect are not always obviously linked for everyone to see. It’s not as if when we now start watching the consequences of the destruction of the inheritance principle it’s not as if everyone says, “Wow, were we mistaken. Just look what’s happened.” Because most people don’t tie what they now see to what was done many years ago.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m in any way recommending that everybody goes out and preaches against the inheritance tax because it’s against the Bible. We all know that in our current climate that’s an absolute disaster. As a matter of fact, I bet, in a way that would be anathema for Jews who walk around the streets of America proclaiming, “I’m a proud Jew.” I would be sure that many of you here have had to weigh up very carefully to what extent you will even disclose publicly the structure of your belief as a Christian. That’s the state of the country at the moment.
So, not only do you have to be really careful. I’m pleased the judge who was just confirmed was challenged on the basis of her Biblical faith. That’s where we we’re at today. That’s where we’re at. And so not only obviously do you question the extent to which you’ll even disclose that you are a fervent believing Christian.
But certainly, you would know that you would never in a political environment discuss the validity, or otherwise, of a law or of a proposal on the basis of its Biblical correspondence. Obviously, none of us would do that. It’s the road to absolute hopelessness. But when you deeply know within side of you the origins of that law, when you know that when you are arguing against the death tax or a hundred other pieces of legislation, and you know that you are echoing the descriptive principles, those timeless truths of the Bible, that not only strengthens you, but you sound utterly persuasive.
The Only Two Nations Whose Social Compacts Preceded Their Political Compacts
Rabbi Daniel Lapin:
Even the most microscopic moral misgiving is enough to utterly pulverize your power to project persuasively. And there’s a reason for that. Because we here in America are different from every other nation, with the exception of ancient Israel. There the similarities are strong. We have to remember that we are the only two nations whose social compact preceded its political compact.
Which is really rather remarkable. When you think about it, in 1776, the Declaration of Independence, in and of itself, had no legal standing, did it? It was a statement of who we are and it provided many, many, people, not everybody, it provided many people with a sense of identity and destiny. But it wasn’t until 1787 that we actually had the Constitution shaped. And now we’re also a political entity.
But those two are not the same. The social entity, that social compact, precedes the political one and provides the inherent strength that unifies us as a nation. Now look at ancient Israel, ancient Israel gets a social compact with the giving of the Torah, God’s message to mankind, to Moses on Mount Sinai. And that is what provides the social glue for the people of Israel. And the evidence for what I’ve just said is, think for how much of the last 2000 years Jews have been totally without any political reality, but it didn’t change anything.
There was a people, and as soon as the opportunity, partially through the Balfour Declaration of 100 years ago this week, partially because of the arrival of the possibility of the state of Israel, the people of Israel once again acquired a political reality. But those two are separate. And the strength, and the vitality, and the vibrancy, of that political compact, utterly depends on the underlying strength of that social compact. Which is why it is, that even in Israel today, today the most ardent Zionists are religious Christians and Bible-believing Jews. It’s a reality.
Political Commitment Flows from the Underlying Strength of the Social One
Rabbi Daniel Lapin:
That’s not to say that of the– there are millions of non observant religious Israelis who are deeply * to the state of Israel. But in general, all the new immigrants, the Jews who are picking up from comfortable lives in Sydney, or Paddison, or Johannesburg, or Montreal, or Toronto, or France, Paris, the Jews that are picking up and moving are overwhelmingly Bible-believing Jews. Because that political commitment flows from the underlying strength of the social one. It’s really very important.
Well, It’s not hard to see that we as a nation here in the United States were originally completely committed to that vision. It’s extraordinary that that was normality. The things that I’m saying to you, when I say them on my radio show, I get barraged with hate mail – “This is not a Christian country.”
Well, in Israel, they don’t deliver mail on Saturday because that’s the Sabbath. Talking of which, I just want you all to know that the absolute only reason Susan and I are not going to be here for the rest of today and tomorrow is because the Sabbath starts later on this afternoon. And we have to be settled by a synagogue for that. So, please know that it was only with the greatest of regret that we are going to have to leave you a little bit after lunchtime today. But that idea, right, that centrality of the idea of the Sabbath is exactly what we’re talking about.
That is part of that social compact. That’s part of what makes the people of Israel who they are. In the same, way in America, we also have that underlying social compact that always everybody knew. When I speak about America’s commitment to the Bible, I get hate mail because people cannot believe, and refuse to believe, that that’s a reality.
When Countries Deliver Mail
Rabbi Daniel Lapin:
And I explained to them in Israel they don’t deliver mail on Saturday. You know why? Because Israel is a Jewish country. And in Pakistan, they don’t deliver mail on Friday. You know why? It’s a Muslim country.
And how about the United States? Have you noticed the days we don’t deliver mail here? Sunday and Christmas. Unfortunately, depending on where you live, it could be a lot of other days as well, but that’s another discussion.
There’s a reason for that, yes, it’s a Christian country. Not a Christian government, but it is a Christian country. Our social polity was formed by Christianity. And it was only because that was so real and so vital that the political reality was able to follow and was able to exist.
Always this was widely accepted, but this all changed in 1859 when a man called John Stuart Mill wrote a book called On Liberty and this was revolutionary. People were outraged, people were indignant, there was academic fights, he was vilified. What did he say? He said it’s time to dispatch the Bible as the core of our social and political structure in the West. That was outrageous.
But it’s always like that, isn’t it? It’s the camel’s nose under the tent. One person comes up with a rather revolutionary idea whether it’s in science, or medicine, right. We can all name the scientists whose careers were ruined because they told the truth. It’s a Biblical concept.
It’s not always forty years, but the Biblical concept is the idea of freedom could never be implanted in people whose reality was shaped by slavery.
Bring A Speaker To Your Area
Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. And as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you’ve probably heard a wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, and about all the things that make America exceptional.
And you might be thinking, “As incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group.”
Whether it be a church, whether it be a Christian school, or public school, or some political event, or activity, if you’re interested in having a WallBuilders speaker come to your area, you can get on our website at www.WallBuilders.com and there’s a tab for scheduling. If you’ll click on that tab, you’ll notice there’s a list of information from speakers bio’s, to events that are already going on. And there’s a section where you can request an event, to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties, and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and Bring a speaker to your area.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Rabbi Daniel Lapin was with us before the break. He was actually sharing at the Pro-Family Legislative Conference.
Now we’re back with David and Tim. And like we always say, you definitely need a rabbi, and this is our guy. We learn so much from him and the legislators really enjoyed this. It’s going to take us a couple of more days to get that full teaching in though.
Yeah, and it was really rich. Whether it’s proscriptive or descriptive law, I thought that was really, really, insightful. And the fact that God describes it and we should base on that. And therefore the inheritance tax and all the things he was talking about, that was really good. Even down to the Sabbath observance that our civil law matched what Biblical law said.
It Helps Us Think Better
We had that descriptive law and that proscriptive law. So, really good insightful stuff. And it actually helps us think better about what goes on around us with even all the laws that get passed by city councils, or ordinances, or whatever else. It’s a great analysis.
Ancient Jewish Wisdom, Everybody Needs A Rabbi!
Well, we’re going to get more from Rabbi Daniel Lapin tomorrow and the next day, so you’ll actually get the full presentation that the legislators got as well. And there’s something about this one where I think he really ties in where we are right now in America as a Christian community. And how we’ve got to be more certain about what we believe. We’re not doing a great job of essentially selling, or teaching, Christian principles and Biblical principles. Part of it is we’re just not solid in that ourselves is kind of what I took from part of what he’s going to share over the next couple of days.
And how important it is for us to do that because the other side certainly does. They have certainty in their- they act like they have certainty in their beliefs and they’re winning the culture. So, we’re going to learn from Rabbi Lapin how important it is for us to do that and for us to realize why these principles are necessary to keep freedom alive in our country. And frankly, the whole world.
Be sure and join us tomorrow. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.