Astounding New Proof Ephraim is America! 


Ephraim – the More
Religious Son! 


William F. Dankenbring


            The Stone Edition Chumash tells us that Joseph’s sons were blessed by Jacob, who was inspired by God in his choice of words.  They were to be blessed, to carry his name, and to “proliferate abundantly like fish within the land” (Gen.48:15-16). This meant that they would be like fish which are fruitful and multiply, and which are not affected by the evil eye (since they live calmly and are unseen by man). 


            This blessing came upon them because Joseph was righteous.  Says the Chumash, in its commentary:  “The Talmud explains that Joseph earned this blessing of immunity against the evil eye because he averted his own eyes from the advances of Potiphar’s wife.”   


            Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph by placing his right hand on the head of the younger sibling, and his left hand on the older.  When Joseph saw that Jacob’s right hand was on Ephraim’s head, he tried to move it, thinking Jacob couldn’t see which son was which.  Joseph assumed that the greater blessing would go to the older son.  But this was not God’s intent (Gen.48:13-19).  Ephraim, the younger son, was blessed by God with the blessing of the right hand, the greater blessing – the blessing of the firstborn.  His offspring were to become a “multitude” of peoples.  


            The Chumash quotes Jacob’s words in verse 19, “I know, my son, I know that he is the firstborn.”  It continues:  According to the Midrash, Jacob repeated the expression to imply that he knew many things of which Joseph was unaware, and if he chose to give the primary blessing to Ephraim, it was for good and sufficient reason.  Haamek Davar explains that Ephraim’s pre-eminence was not the result of Jacob’s blessing.  Rather, it was because Ephraim was destined for more greatness that he required a more intensive blessing, for prominent people need a blessing to carry out their mission successfully.  Not Jacob’s blessing but Ephraim’s upbringing was the source of his future greatness, for Ephraim spent his life studying Torah with Jacob (see Rashi to 48:1), while Manasseh was Joseph’s assistant in governing the country” (p.273, emphasis mine). 


            Notice!  The boy Ephraim grew up dandled on Jacob’s knee, studying the Word of God, listening to the sage wisdom of his grandfather, learning the Torah and the teachings of God.  He therefore grew up to be the “more religious son” of Joseph!  This characteristic, then, should be evident in the offspring and descendants of Ephraim!


            What does the history of our peoples tell us?


America’s Religious Heritage


            During the age of the founding of the American colonies, the world of Europe was a frightful world of horrendous religious persecution, atrocities, and hatred.  Protestants and Catholics vyed for political power and freedom.  Galileo (1564-1642), the famous astronomer, had been forced to “recant” his scientific discoveries because they disagreed with the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. 


            The Inquisition was still a strong memory in the minds of men.  Religious persecution was still running strong during the seventeenth century, compelling many men and women of conscience to flee the “Old World” to risk the travails of the “wilderness,” in order to found a new nation where they could worship God according to their own conscience and the Bible. 


            The beginning of the story of America is the saga of the search for freedom to worship God without having to conform to the authority of a religious tyranny emanating from Europe.


            In 1782, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a pamphlet entitled “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America,” that “Atheism is unknown there; infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country, without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel.”


            Today, as a whole, America remains a religious nation.  Says a special report on “Defining America,” in U.S. News & World Report, America remains a godly nation.  Among advanced industrialized countries, it is easily the most religious. Some 60 percent of its citizens say religion is very important to their lives, about six times the percentage of the French.  But the divine looms even larger in most Americans’ hearts than those figures suggest.  Some 90 percent say they believe in God – 94 percent if you add those who revere a ‘universal spirit’ – while less than 1 percent call themselves atheists or agnostics.  It is very possible that an American might still live to a ripe old age without meeting an atheist or infidel” (U.S. News & World Report, June28/July 5, 2004).


            If you visit Washington, D.C., you will be able to see Bible verses etched in stone all over Federal buildings and monuments.  As you walk up the steps to the Supreme Court building, near the top of the building you will see a row of the world’s great lawgivers, each one facing the one in the middle – Moses holding the Ten Commandments.  Continuing inside the courtroom, you will see on the wall right above where the chief justice sits a display of the Ten Commandments.


            If you attend a session of Congress, you will notice that every session begins with a prayer, said by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.


            It is a fact that religion has always been important to Americans.  Fifty-two of the 55 founders of the Constitution were members of established churches in the colonies. 


            It is also a fact that the first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay, declared:  “Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers.”


            James Madison, the nation’s fourth president, observed, “We have staked the whole of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”


            It makes you wonder:  How is it, then, that our nation has got to the point, in the beginning of the 21st century, that the Supreme Court has outlawed prayers in schools, and declared that a monument of the Ten Commandments which had been placed in the supreme state court building in Montgomery, Alabama, had to be removed?


Our Religious Heritage


            The history of the United States of America reveals that America is a predominantly religious nation and a religious people.  Some 86 percent of our population believe in a Higher Power – God.  On our coinage, every penny is inscribed, “In God we trust.”  So is every nickel, dime and quarter.  On our currency, every dollar bill is also inscribed with the words:  “In God we trust.”  And so is every $5, $10, and $20 dollar bill.  In 1776, many members of the new congress advocated adopting Hebrew as the official language of the United States.      


            In fact, according to a new Gallup poll, six out of every 10 Americans say religion is “very important” to them in daily life – a steadfast figure that has remained virtually unchanged during the past decade, says the Gallup poll.  Twenty six percent said religion is “fairly” important, while just 15 percent said it doesn’t matter.  The survey was conducted June 3 to June 6, 2004, and surveyed 1,000 adults.. 


            According to the survey, 61 percent found faith to be practical and religion can solve “all or most of today’s problems,” whereas only 24 percent said faith was “old-fashioned and out of date.”  Gallup analyst Joseph Carroll called the United States “a predominantly Christian nation.” Overall, 64 percent belong to a church or synagogue, and 43 percent attended a church service in the past seven days (The Washington Times, June 28-July 4, 2004).                                                                                                                           


            We are the most religious nation on the face of the earth.  The nation was originally founded largely by Puritans, called Pilgrims, a break-away group of devout Christians who were known as Separatists, because they separated from the Church of England to follow the precepts of the Bible.  Because of intense persecution, they sailed for the New World, to establish a country where they could worship God in peace.


            Frank Lambert, Purdue University historian, in his book The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America, says the “Planting Fathers” – especially the Puritans of New England – sought to practice their own Christian faith and to found a Christian state.  They established Congregationalism and supported it with taxes and compelled their chief magistrates to govern “according to the rule of the Word of God.”  The Southern colonies, however, generally enforced Anglicanism.

            About 150 years later, he declares, the “Founding Fathers” of the nation created a new national compact guaranteeing that the state would have no voice in determining religion or matters of conscience.  During the 1740s, the colonies were swept by a powerful religious revival called “The First Great Awakening.”  It emphasized individual religious experience and conversion.  When the Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia to create a nation, they knew that the new United States was too diverse religiously to attempt to create a national church.  Yet they never sought to drive religion from the public domain. 


            Nathan Hatch, provost of Notre Dame University, in his book The Democratization of American Christianity, shows that during the 70 years following the American Revolution, the United States became an avidly religious and evangelical nation. 


            The Second Great Awakening, around 1845, saw revivalist Christianity and evangelicalism spread hand in hand with Jacksonian democracy, bolstering the American creed of liberty, individualism and equality.  


            The Third Great Awakening came toward the end of the 19th century, inspiring many cultural and political reforms in the nation.  This was the era when Teddy Roosevelt led the fight against business monopolies, such as Standard Oil, and initiated new laws governing corporations, the nation’s first food and cosmetic laws.  This was the age of reformers seeking to create a just and equitable society, eliminating the gap between institutions and ideals.


            In the Eisenhower era, when the United States was engaged in the Cold War struggle against atheistic Communism, Congress opened a prayer room in the Capitol, made “In God We Trust” the official national motto, required its inclusion on all currency, and added “Under God” to the Pledge of  Allegiance.


            What do these facts have to do with ancient Ephraim, the second son of Joseph?


The Key to Ephraim’s Greatness


            It is very interesting – and significant -- that of the two peoples, the British and the Americans, it is the AMERICANS who are far more religious as a nation, believe in God, and attend a Christian church!  It is interesting, too, that the British have a proclivity to rule and govern nations, as Britain once did when London ruled over a quarter of the world’s population.  Manasseh, as we have just seen, was Joseph’s assistant in governing the country of Egypt!


The Star-Spangled Banner and Other Songs


            America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was written by Francis Scott Key, a lawyer, during the War of 1812, when the British fleet was bombarding Fort McHenry, on Chesapeake Bay.  It took almost 120 years for the original poem to rise to its present status.  It was written in mid-1814 in humble circumstances, scribbled on the back of an envelope.  Key had been sent to negotiate the release of a dear elderly doctor friend who was being held prisoner on a British warship.  Key sailed in a small sloop to the British ship, and the British admiral agreed to the release after several hours of persuasive argument.  He had intended to hang the man.


            But while the British fleet bombarded Fort McHenry, the British held Key on board, fearing he was a security risk.   So Key had the unwanted opportunity to see the blistering, roaring of shells plunging toward Fort McHenry with its 32 by 40-foot U.S. flag flying bravely.   It was eight miles away but still plainly visible.  All day Key watched as volley after volley roared from the fleet, amazed as he saw the gallant flag still waving.  At night he saw the banner illuminated against the “rockets’ red glare,” still flying.  Key remembered his grandmother’s sage words that when nothing else could be done, “You can always pray.”  So he redoubled his prayers for Baltimore, Fort McHenry, his friends.  The battle intensified.  The heavens became as a sheet of flame.  The next morning, after a harrowing night, a shout of thankfulness burst from the Americans on board – the flag was still flying high. 


            Francis Scott Key was so inspired by the sight in that “hour of joy and triumph,” as he put it, that his heart was stirred to write the poem – a song of deliverance. 


            Religion played a very important role in the founding, and the history, of the United States of America.  Jaroslav Pelikan, of Yale University, points out, “The spirit of a people often finds a more profound and lasting expression in its hymns and anthems, whether official or unofficial, than it does in its constitution and laws” (Foreword, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, by James H. Hutson, Library of Congress, University Press of New England).


            The official national anthem of the United States, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ affirms,


                                    Then conquer we must, for our cause is just –

                                    And this be our motto, “In God is our trust!”


            In its unofficial national anthems that strong religious faith is even more affirmed, even intensified, as in Samuel Francis Smith’s great song, “America,” or as it is also known, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” sung to the tune, let it be remembered, of “God Save the King!”


                                    My country ‘tis of thee,

                                    Sweet land of liberty,

                                    Of thee I sing.

                                    Land where my fathers died!

                                    Land of the Pilgrims’ pride!

                                    From every mountain side,

                                    Let freedom ring!


                                    Our father’s God to Thee,

                                    Author of liberty,

                                    To Thee we sing.

                                    Long may our land be bright

                                    With freedom’s holy light,

                                    Protect us by Thy might,

                                    Great God, our King!


            When the Civil War began, in 1860, the United States had no national anthem.  In 1861 a contest was held to produce a new patriotic song.  1,200 entries were received but none was judged worthy of the honor.  Then in December, Julia Ward Stowe, an unknown poet, visiting the Army of the Potomac, heard the soldiers singing one of their favorite marching songs, “John Brown’s Body.” She decided the very popular tune needed new words – and so she returned to Boston and wrote a new song and showed it to the editor of the Atlantic Monthly. 


            He suggested the title, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  It was published in February 1862 and became an instant sensation! 


                                    Mine eyes have seen the glory

                                         of the coming of the Lord;

                                    He is trampling out the vintage

                                         where the grapes of wrath are stored;

                                    He hath loosed the fateful lightning

                                         of His terrible swift sword;

                                    His truth is marching on.


                                    Glory!  Glory!  Hallelujah!

                                    Glory!  Glory!  Hallelujah!

                                    Glory!  Glory!  Hallelujah!

                                    His truth is marching on.


                                    In the beauty of the lilies

                                         Christ was born across the sea,

                                    With a glory in his bosom

                                         that transfigures you and me,

                                    As he died to make men holy,

                                         let us die to make men free

                                    While God is marching on.


            Another American favorite, especially in times of war and trouble and unrest, is  Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”


                                    God bless America,

                                    Land that I love,

                                    Stand beside her and guide her

                                    Through the night with the light from above.

                                    From the mountains, to the prairies,

                                    To the oceans, white with foam,

                                    God bless America, my home sweet home,

                                    God bless America, my home sweet home.


            A very inspiring folk song in America is Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” a vibrant song expressing America’s wonderful heritage, that “this land was made for you and me.”


                                    This land is your land – this land is my land –

                                    From Cal-i-for-nia – to the New York Island,

                                    From the red-wood for-est – to the Gulf Stream wa-ters,

                                    This land was made for you and me. ––


                                    As I went walking that ribbon of highway

                                    I saw above me that endless skyway,

                                    I saw below me that golden valley,

                                    This land was made for you and me.


                                    I roamed and rambled, and I followed my footsteps,

                                    To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts,

                                    All around me a voice was sounding,

                                    This land was made for you and me.


                                    “When the sun came shining, then I was strolling,

                                    And the wheat fields waving, and the dust clouds rolling,

                                    A voice was chanting as the fog was lifting,

                                    This land was made for you and me.


            Perhaps the most transcendent song of all, with echoes from both Augustine’s City of God and the Book of Revelation – we have the patriotic hymn “America the Beautiful”:


                                    O beautiful for spacious skies,

                                         For amber waves of grain

                                    For purples mountain majesties

                                         Above the fruited plain!


                                    America!  America!  God shed His grace on thee

                                    And crown thy good with brotherhood

                                    From sea to shining sea!


                                    O beautiful for pilgrim feet

                                         Whose stern impassioned stress

                                    A thoroughfare from freedom beat

                                         Across the wilderness!


                                    America!  America!  God mend thine every flaw,

                                    Confirm thy soul in self control,

                                    Thy liberty in law!



                                    O beautiful for heroes proved

                                         In liberating strife,

                                    Who more than self

                                         Their country loved,

                                    And mercy more than life!


                                    America!  America!  May God thy gold refine,

                                    Till all success be nobleness,

                                    And every grace divine!


                                    O beautiful for patriot dream

                                           That sees beyond the years

                                    Thine alabaster cities gleam

                                           Undimmed by human tears!


                                    America!  America!  God shed His grace on thee

                                    And crown thy good with brotherhood

                                    From sea to shining sea!


            Writes Jaroslav Pelikan of Yale University, “In each case, significantly, the credo comes in the closing stanza of the anthem; only the ‘Battle-Hymn of the Republic’ keeps up the apocalyptic tone from beginning to end.  But each poem expresses something special about the American faith experience:  ‘In God is our trust’; ‘Great God, our King’; ‘While God is marching on’; ‘Thine alabaster cities gleam’” (Foreword, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, by James H. Hutson, Library of Congress, University Press of New England).


            In this remarkable book, prepared as a companion piece for the Library of Congress exhibition, which opened in 1998, and toured the nation, the strength of early American religious experience and faith is clearly revealed.  The book tells the story of the relationship of religion to the government during the Founding Period of the nation, and the part played by the forces of evangelism during the 1730s through the 1830s, when it became the dominant feature of American religion.


Religion in Early America


            George Washington, in his farewell address of 1796, declared that religion, as the source of morality, was “a necessary spring of popular government.”


            Toqueville observed in 1845 in Democracy in America that Americans believed religion to be “indispensable to the maintenance of republican government,” and was somewhat surprised at how it worked in so large a country. 


            Contrary to recent Supreme Court decisions which have emasculated the role of religion in government in modern-day America, religion was indispensable to government in the early years of the American republic.  On Sundays, during the first years of the new republic, “the state became the church,” says James H. Billington, of the Library of Congress.


            Writes James Hutson, “Many of the people who settled British North America in the seventeenth century came for religious reasons, for the opportunity to worship God in ways that were unacceptable in Europe.  Their passion for their faith was transmitted to their descendants who created the American nation in 1776. This legacy of faith, periodically refashioned and refreshed, gave to the new country the strong religious flavor that, in the nineteenth century, impressed foreign and domestic observers and, in 1922, prompted G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), with ample justification, to call the United States ‘a nation with the soul of a church’” (p.3).


            America’s religious spirit is the hidden secret of their national greatness.  This reflects the original nature and upbringing of Ephraim, himself, who studied Torah at the knees of his grandfather Jacob. This is one of the incredible heretofore unseen PROOFS that the United States of America inherited the birthright promise and represents as a whole the people of modern Ephraim!  The Americans inherited the religious nature and temperament of their ancestor, Ephraim.


The Puritans and Pilgrims


            History shows that most of the American colonies of England, especially the Massachusetts Bay Colony, were founded by men and women seeking religious freedom and liberty.  The original settlers in Massachusetts, who came across the Atlantic on the Mayflower, were known as Pilgrims, who were fleeing religious oppression in England.  They were a special branch of the Puritans, seeking to live their lives according to the Scriptures.  The Puritans were actually more Jewish than Protestant in many of their beliefs!


            During the 17th century English Civil War, Puritans were Protestant funda-mentalists who wished to purify the Church of England.  The Puritans felt that Parliament, and not the King, should have the final say and that the moral guidance for all legal decision should come from the Bible which they considered to be the highest authority in all matters.


Writes Hugh Fogelman, a Jewish historical writer who has studied at length the origin of the Puritan movement in England:  “The Puritans were obsessed with the Bible and came to identify their political struggle against England with that of the ancient Hebrews against Pharaoh or the King of Babylon. Because they identified so strongly with ancient Israel, they chose to identify with the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible).”


He continues, “In 1620, the ‘Separatists’ sailed for America on the Mayflower.  The Separatists/Puritans who settled at Plymouth Colony called themselves ‘Pilgrims’ because of their wanderings in search of religious freedom. The Puritan culture of New England was marked from the outset by a deep association with Jewish themes. No Christian community in history identified more with the Israelites of the Bible than did the first generations of settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who believed their own lives to be a literal reenactment of the biblical drama of the chosen people – they were the children of Israel and the ordinances of God’s Holy covenant by which they lived were His divine law. Since they viewed themselves as the persecuted victims of the sinful Christian establishment of the Old World (England), the Puritans also had a natural sympathy for the Jews of their own time. The Protestant Puritan leader Cotton Mather repeatedly referred to the Jews in his prayer for their conversion as God’s ‘Beloved People.’”


Religious Hatred in Europe


            The founding of America was largely the result of incredible  religious hatred and bigotry that raged in Europe, including Great Britain, during the seventeenth century, against those who sought to live by the Biblical code.  Many who settled in the region of British North America were driven there by relentless religious persecution.  Religious uniformity was demanded by both Catholic and Protestant states in Europe.  Any who resisted were dealt with forcibly.


            The ones who became American Pilgrims were actually a small minority of the Puritan movement, but they believed the Anglican church had become so corrupt as to be irredeemable.  They felt they must withdraw immediately to seek the Lord while He may be found.  Taking as their motto, the title of a pamphlet, Reformation without Tarrying for any, they set sail for the New World, Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.


            America was looked upon by many earnest, God-fearing Christians in Europe as a place where they could be free of religious oppression and persecution – as a Shangri-La, as a new-found religious refuge and haven.  With great  hope and anticipation they set out on a risky enterprise, facing unknown dangers and perils. 


Influence of the Bible


The influence of the Hebrew Bible marked every step of the Puritan exodus to their New Canaan in the wilderness of the New World. The Bible formed their minds, concepts, and dominated their character.


The early founders of America were very religious people.  Says Fogelman, when ready to depart from England for the new land, the Puritans “fasted in a manner reminiscent of the fasts held by the Israelites before any new undertaking. Their Pastor Robertson read I Samuel 23:3-4 and then they sailed to the New Canaan in America. The biblical basis for this procedure is manifest; just as the ancient Israelites prayed and fasted before undertaking an uncertain venture, so did the Puritans. And once settled in America, the custom was retained and frequently renewed” (Fogelman, “Puritans Were More Jewish than Protestant,”


Fogelman continues, “The next major group of Puritan settlers to arrive in New England (1630) was headed by John Winthrop (1588–1649) and founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They were ruled initially by an elite of leading Puritan families – since the colony itself was based on biblical principles and . . . the Holy Jewish Bible. The Puritans wholeheartedly believed that it was their special mission to establish in America a society precisely modeled on the precepts of Sacred Jewish Scriptures. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was at the very least a state inspired by and thoroughly devoted to the Jewish Bible. ‘If we keep this covenant,’ Governor John Winthrop assured his people, ‘we shall find that the God of Israel is among us, but if we deal falsely with our God . . . we [will] be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.’ The Jewish covenant concept was thus the bedrock of all Puritan religious communities” (ibid.).


In England, the Puritans were bitterly persecuted.  They were far more religious and Bible-based in their thinking than the other people of England.  This difference illustrates the difference between Ephraim – a lover of the Torah – and his brother Manasseh, who learned the methods of government, assisting Joseph in the administration of Egypt during the years of famine and thereafter.


New Canaan


 The Puritans applied the lessons of the Exodus to their own situation.  “They firmly believed that the Hebrew prophets were speaking to them as directly as they had spoken to the Israelites. Thus the history of the Israelites as related in the Bible served, according to the ministers of the day, as a mirror in which the Puritans could see their own activities reflected. Still considering themselves as Christian Protestants, the Puritans related to the Israelites and their Jewish belief for their fundamental ‘grounding.’”


Fogelman goes on, explaining: “In this respect they differed sharply from the majority of traditional Christian theologies. To the Puritans the primary lesson of the Old Testament was that a nation as well as an individual could enter into a covenant with God. The Puritans reasoned in America the concept of the covenant would assume new dimensions. Once they reached the colonies a new factor entered into the matter of the covenant. In this New Israel the Puritans established a completely new society based solely upon the Jewish concept of a covenant between God and man. Thus the Puritans made certain of the biblical system they wished to establish in the New World.  During a convention of Puritan ministers at Boston on May 26, 1698, they confirmed the belief that ‘under the Old Testament, the Church was constituted by a covenant.’ Because of this concept, the Puritan Church was not ruled by a formal and rigid papal hierarchy but derived its direction immediately from God, ruled by His Word as revealed in the sacred Jewish Scriptures.


“The Bible was in all circumstances and for all occasions the ultimate source of knowledge and precedent. The Jewish Bible was the inspired word of God which was for them a matter of absolute conviction, and, hence, indisputable. Accordingly, failure to abide by the strict reading and literal interpretation of the Scriptures was severely punished . . . Laws and regulations adopted by them, which, at the present day, are stigmatized as singularities, were in many instances, the legitimate fruits of their strict adherence to the teaching of the Bible.”


Bible Basis for Law


Fogelman observes that most of the official acts of the colonies were determined by the Jewish Scriptures. The Connecticut Code of 1650 adopted a near Mosaic form of government. Its fifteen Capital Laws, Pentateuchal citations and language are later found in the Massachusetts Code of 1660. The leader of early Connecticut was Thomas Hooker, a man deeply moved by the Bible and its spirit. He was called by some “the founder of American democracy.” Hooker wrote in a letter in 1648 to Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts on the subject of liberty under the law, quoting Deuteronomy 17:10–11: “Thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform, according to the sentence of the law. Thou shalt seek that Law at his mouth: not ask what his discretion allows, but what the Law requires.”


The Puritans incorporated the Mosaic code and commandments from the Old Testament into their own legal framework.  Fully half of the statutes in the Code of 1655 for the New Haven colony contained references to or citations from the Old Testament, whereas only three percent referred to the New Testament Scriptures.


            The first Puritan settlers in New England called themselves “Christian Israel.” Names like Daniel, Jonathan, Esther, Enoch, Ezra, Rachel and a host of others were in common use among the Puritans. 


            Names of cities, towns and settlements likewise derived from Hebraic sources.   Fogelman points out, “This widespread use of biblical names, however, was not confined to the naming of offspring, cities and towns – names of many biblical heights were eventually bestowed upon the great mountains of America. Mount Carmel and Mount Horeb, home of the Prophets, were popular names, as was Mount Nebo, the final resting place of Moses. Names like Mount Ephraim, Mount Gilead, Mount Hermon, Mount Moriah, Mount Pisgah, were all popular as well. Some mountains in the New World were even called  Mt. Sinai, Mount Zion and Mount Olive.”


            If you look at a map or an atlas of the United States, you will find many Biblical names of cities and towns scattered throughout the various states of the union.  Biblical place names are found throughout the country, from coast to coast.  Certainly these manifold place names bear witness to the distant origins and heritage of our people!


Declares Fogelman, “The majority of the earliest settlers were Puritans from England. Unlike their cousins back home, these American Puritans strongly identified with both the historical traditions and customs of the ancient Hebrews of the Old Testament. They viewed their emigration from England as a virtual re-enactment of the Jewish exodus from Egypt: England was Egypt, the English king was Pharaoh, the Atlantic Ocean their Red Sea, America was the Land of Israel, and the Indians were the ancient Canaanites. They were the new Israelites, entering into a new covenant with God in a new Promised Land.”


Hugh Fogelman asserts, “At the first assembly of New Haven in 1639, John Davenport clearly declared the primacy of the Bible as the legal and moral foundation of the colony: ‘Scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to perform to God and men as well as in the government of families and commonwealth as in matters of the church . . . the Word of God shall be the only rule to be attended unto in organizing the affairs of government in this plantation’” (Hugh Fogelman, “Puritans More Jewish than Protestant,”).


            Why is America so much more a religious nation than Great Britain?  The answer goes back to our historic origins and the birthright promises made to Ephraim and Manasseh.  Ephraim spent much time at Jacob’s knees, learning the Torah and the laws of God, developing a spiritual relationship with God, whereas Manasseh, also blessed, spent most of his young life accompanying Joseph in performing his duties of administration of government.  Even so, in modern times, Great Britain shows its great abilities in government and administration, as it administered its global empire and commonwealth, and America shows its greatness based on its Judeo-Christian heritage and inspiration. 


Religious Proclamations


Early in 1620, the very year of the Pilgrims’ landing in the new Plymouth, a solemn day of prayer was observed.  This custom, combining prayer and fasting with biblical readings on momentous occasions, continued.  In 1800, President Adams likewise called a national day of prayer and fasting, and during the Civil War Abraham Lincoln did likewise.   What other nation has done the like throughout its history?

The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. The Pilgrims invited Squanto and the other Indians to join them in their celebration. Their chief, Massasoit, and 90 braves came to the celebration which lasted for 3 days. They played games, ran races, marched and played drums. The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow and the Pilgrims demonstrated their musket skills. Exactly when the festival took place is uncertain, but it is believed the celebration took place in mid-October .

The following year the Pilgrims’ harvest was not as bountiful, as they were still unused to growing the corn. During the year they had also shared their stored food with newcomers and the Pilgrims ran short of food.

The 3rd year brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields. Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rain came. To celebrate, November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present Thanksgiving Day in America.

“A Day of Fasting and Prayer”


            In May, 1774, shortly after the Boston Tea Party, where patriots dressed as Indians dumped the tea carried on British ships into the Boston harbor, word reached Virginia that the British in retaliation planned to close the port of Boston.


            As a consequence, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and other Virginians resolved to immediately proclaim a day of fasting and prayer for the intervention of Almighty God.  The Virginia legislature deemed it “highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the members of this House, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, devoutly to implore the divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights and the evils of civil war . . .”


            Wherever we look, in Colonial America there was a very strong reliance on the divine blessing and intervention of Almighty God.  America was founded on religious principles, and her people historically have been a very devout people.           

The picture above depicts the first prayer in Congress, September 7, 1774.   John Adams, who became the second president of the United States, was present, and declared afterward, “I must confess that I never heard a better Prayer or one so well pronounced . . . with such fervor, such Ardor, such Earnestness and Pathos, and in Language so elegant and sublime – for America, for the Congress, for the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially the Town of Boston.  It has had an excellent Effect upon every Body here” (Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, p.48).


The Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, the historic document in which the American Colonies declared their freedom from British rule.  It ranks as one of the greatest documents of human history. 

The preamble to this document states unequivocally:

            “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one                                            people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with                                            another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and                                         equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle                                            them, a decent respect of the opinions of mankind requires that they                                             should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.—

            “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,                                        that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,                                             that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness . . .”

The Congress appointed a committee of five men to draft the Declaration, and they chose Thomas Jefferson to write it.  Benjamin Franklin and John Adams made a few literary changes, and the final draft was adopted on July 4.  The Declaration reveals that the United States was conceived under religious principles and a belief in the sovereignty of God.  It is a distinctly religious document using key phrases such as “the laws of nature and nature’s God” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” But the Declaration is also a political and legal document.  Our forefathers base their right to declare their independence and to create a Constitution based on a claim to higher authority than King George III who represented the supreme law of the land. America was at that time a British colony.  To explain their right to freedom from the rule of Great Britain, the Colonists based their Declaration on divine authority.  God and His Word was our authority and basis for declaring our independence. 

Testifying to that supreme truth is the Liberty Bell, a treasured relic from the early days of American Independence.  It was rung July 8, 1776, along with other church bells to announce the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.  Its famous inscription, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land  unto all the inhabitants thereof” is from the Bible (Leviticus 25:10). 

George Washington – Man of Destiny


            Many modern revisionist historians have distorted the truth about George Washington, the “father of our country,” by referring to him as a “deist” – one who advocates a religion based on human reason as opposed to divine revelation, and who denies that the Creator ever intervenes in the laws or operation of the Universe.


            Was Washington a deist?  Not at all!   His heart-felt prayer, prayed at Valley Forge, puts the lie to this fraudulent interpretation of early American history.  Washington himself said he was a Christian, and regularly attended the Episcopal Church.  In his own prayer book, written by his own hand, he wrote, “Direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life.” 


            In his Farewell Address to the nation, when he left the office of president, after serving two terms, Washington warned that religion and morality are indispensable supports for political prosperity.  He added that “reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”  At another time, Washington observed that “it is impossible to rightly govern without God and the Bible.” 


            Washington’s dependence on divine Providence throughout his life is attested to by the fact that when he was appointed commander of the Continental Army, his response was that he would only accept if the Continental Congress also appoint and fund chaplains for his troops.  Washington served, at his own choice, without any payment or remuneration.  He took a rag-tag, ill-equipped bunch of colonials, undisciplined, lacking in training, and out-manned, and doggedly worked with them, turning them into a powerful army. 


            Washington never sought power or authority for himself.  The people of his day loved him.  The officers of his army would have made him king, but he would not let them.  One of his officers, Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee summed up the feelings of Americans for Washington:  “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”  Only reluctantly did Washington accept the office of first president of the new Republic.  He accepted the post with misgivings saying that his own feelings were “not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution.”  He served two terms without pay at his own insistence. 


            Early in his life, Washington showed his prowess as a young soldier.  During a battle in the French and Indian War, General Braddock ordered a retreat.  Indians and Frenchmen had ambushed his troops and losses were heavy.  Washington was only 26, and still recovering from a serious illness, but moved boldly through a hail of bullets to rescue hundreds of wounded soldiers, including Braddock himself.  During his gallant and magnificent heroics, Washington had two horses shot out from beneath him, and four bullets tore his clothing to rags.  Yet, miraculously, showing that the hand of divine Providence was even then upon him, he escaped the encounter without a single mark upon him, unwounded and unscathed.  He later remarked that divine Providence had protected him beyond all human expectation.


            An Indian chief, who fought on the other side as an ally of the French, later declared in amazement, “Our rifles knew not how to miss except for Washington.”  He added, “A power far mightier than we shielded him from harm.  He cannot die in battle.  The Great Spirit protects that man and guides his destinies.  He will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him the founder of a mighty nation.” 


            Thomas Jefferson wrote of the character of this great man:  “His mind was great and powerful . . . no judgment was ever sounder.  It was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion. . . . Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining when he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose whatever obstacles opposed.  His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known . . . He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good and a great man . . . On the whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect . . . it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great.”


            Washington once declared:  “In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either.  No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts affairs of men more than the people of the United States.”


            George Washington, known as the “father of our country,” when he was president, in 1789, issued a proclamation showing the religious nature of our people – and his own heart.  He declared,

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly       implore His protection and favor; and                                                                             Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee,            requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of          public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with              grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God . . .”                                                Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day                        November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service                       of that great and glorious Being who is the benevolent Author of all the good            that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto    Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the            people of this country . . . .                                                                                            And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers            and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him             to pardon our national and other transgressions . . .”

Benjamin Franklin

            America was founded on solid Biblical, religious principles, testifying to the religious nature of our forefathers as a whole.  Benjamin Franklin, while attending the Constitutional Convention in 1787, was then 81 years old.  It seemed the convention was hopelessly deadlocked.  Franklin made a short speech in which he beseeched the delegates to daily seek Divine guidance for their meetings and deliberations.  He declared:

                        In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find                                        political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how                                      has it happened, Sir, that we have not once hitherto thought of humbly                                      applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understandings?  In the                                            beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of                                          danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.  Our                                     prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.

                        “All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent                                                instances of a superintending Providence in our favor.  To that kind Prov-                         idence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means                           of establishing our future national felicity.

                        “And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?  Or do we imagine                                         that we no longer need his assistance?

                        “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing                                        proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men.  And if                                           a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that                                            an empire can rise without his aid?

                        “We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord                                      build the house they labor in vain that build it.’  I firmly believe this; and                                         I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political                            building no better than the builders of Babel. . . .

                        “I therefore beg leave to move – that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance                         of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every                                 morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of                            this city be requested to officiate in that service.”

            After Franklin’s motivational address, the delegates agreed with him and meetings of the Constitutional Convention were always begun with prayer to God.

President John Adams

John Adams, the second president of the United States, issued two proclamations during his term of office calling upon the people of the nation to observe a day of “solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer,” in 1798 and 1799.  Relations had deteriorated between the U.S. and France, since France aided the colonies during the Revolutionary War, and the the growing threat of war hung in the air.  The earnest prayers of the nation were answered and war was averted. 

President Adams proclaimed, March 6, 1799:                                                                                                                                                                                                               AS NO TRUTH is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor          any more                     fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and due acknow-              ledgment of the governing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountable-                       ness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributor of rewards and                   punishments are conducive equally to the happiness and rectitude of individuals and to                    the well-being of communities; as it is also most reasonable in itself that men who are                      made capable of social acts and relations, who owe their improvements to the social                    state, and who derive their enjoyments from it, should, as a society, make their                              acknowledgments of dependence and obligation to Him who hath endowed them              with these capacities and elevated them in the scale of existence by these distinctions; as                      it is likewise a plain dictate of duty and a strong sentiment of nature that in            circumstances of great urgency and seasons of imminent danger earnest and particular                        supplications should be made to Him who is able to defend or to destroy; as, moreover,                 the most precious interests of the people of the United States are still held in jeopardy by                the hostile designs and insidious acts of a foreign nation, as well as by the dissemination                       among them of those principles, subversive of the foundations of all religious, moral,                 and social obligations that have produced incalculable mischief and misery in other                        countries; and as, in fine, the observance of special seasons for public religious     solemnities is happily calculated to avert the evils which we ought to deprecate and excite                to the performance of the duties which we ought to discharge by calling and fixing the              attention of the people at large to the momentous truths already recited, by affording                     opportunity to teach and inculcate them by animating devotion and giving to it the              character of a national act:

For these reasons I have thought proper to recommend, and I do hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the 25th day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as day of solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer; that the citizens on that day abstain as far as may be from their secular occupations, devote the time to the sacred duties of religion in public and in private;

that they call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the

Great Mediator and Redeemer for our past transgressions, and that through the grace

of His Holy Spirit we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience

to His righteous requisitions in time to come; that He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind; that He would make us deeply sensible that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people;’ that He would

turn us from our transgressions and turn His displeasure from us; that He would with-

hold us from unreasonable discontent, from disunion, faction, sedition, and insurrection; that He would preserve our country from the desolating sword; that He would save our cities and towns from a repetition of those awful pestilential visitations under which they have lately suffered so severely, and that the health of our inhabitants generally may be precious in His sight; that He would favor us with fruitful seasons and so bless the labors of the husbandman as that there may be food in abundance for man and beast; that He would prosper our commerce, manufactures, and fisheries, and give success to the

people in all their lawful industry and enterprise; that He would smile on our colleges, academies, and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of sound science,

morals and religion . . . . that He would put an end to the effusion of human blood and the accumulation of human misery among the contending nations of the earth by disposing them to justice, to equity, to benevolence, and to peace;  and that He would extend the blessing of knowledge, of true liberty, and of pure and undefiled religion throughout the world.

            And I do also recommend that with these acts of humiliation, penitence and

prayer still continuing to the people of the United States, and which render their condition

as a nation eminently happy when compared to the lot of others.

                                                                          --  JOHN ADAMS.

            What other nation has on several momentous occasions issued such astounding proclamations to their people to call on God in fasting, prayer, and humiliation? 

About sixty years later, in 1861, another similar proclamation was made by a sitting president during a time of national crisis and upheaval. 


Abraham Lincoln


            When Lincoln departed from Springfield, Illinois for Washington, D.C., to take up his new duties as president, he told his friends and neighbors gathered to see him off: 


                        “I know not how soon I shall see you again.  A duty devolves upon me

                        which is perhaps greater than that which has devolved upon any other man

                        since the days of Washington.   He would never have succeeded except by

                        the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied.  I feel that

                        I cannot succeed without this same Divine Aid which sustained him, and

                        upon the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support.  I hope

                        you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine Assistance

                        without which I cannot succeed, but with which success is certain.”


            Abraham Lincoln was perhaps America’s most spiritual president, the most compassionate, and humble.  He said, at one time, surrounded by difficulties and problems, as the American nation was being torn apart in Civil War:


                        “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming

conviction that I had nowhere else to go.  My own wisdom, and that

of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”


During the terrible ordeal of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln also directed the attention of the country and its citizens to the need for a national day of humiliation, prayer, and fasting.  In 1861, he issued a proclamation as follows:


“WHEREAS a joint committee of both Houses of Congress has waited

on the President of the United States and requested him to ‘recommend

a day of public humiliation, prayer, and fasting to be observed by the

people of the United States with religious solemnities and the offering

of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these

States, His blessings on their arms, and a Speedy restoration of peace,’ and

Whereas it is fit and becoming in all people at all times to acknowledge

and revere the supreme government of God, to bow in humble submission

to His chastisements, to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions

in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

and to pray with all fervency and contrition for the pardon of their past

offenses and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action; and

Whereas when our own beloved country, once, by the blessing of God,

united, prosperous, and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it

is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation,

and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and

as individuals to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for His mercy – to

pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved;

that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the reestablishment of law,

order and peace throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the

inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and

blessing by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its

original excellence.

Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the

Last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer, and fasting for

all the people of the nation.  And I do earnestly recommend to all the people and

especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations and to all

heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds

and modes of worship in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end

that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring

down plentiful blessings upon our country.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal

of the United States to be affixed, this 12th day of August, A.D. 1861, and

of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-sixth.

            -- ABRAHAM LINCOLN.


            God heard these prayers of a sorrowful, repentant people, and He guided our nation through peril and sword and brought us to a position of international greatness and power such has never been enjoyed by any other people on the face of the earth. 


            As Lincoln declared, our blessings were not due our own goodness.  Continually we have had to repent of our sins, and return to the ways of the Great God who created us.  On another occasion, Lincoln declared that America had forgotten the gracious hand of Providence.  He asserted: 

“We have been recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have                been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown               in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we              have forgotten God.  We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved                     us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have                    vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings                   were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated                    with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the                  necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the                         God that made us.

“It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to                                     confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”


            Most of his life, Lincoln was not a “religious” man, even though he was brought up in a family that attended an antislavery Baptist church.  Lincoln never made a public profession of faith.  However, he was such a moral, upright, honest, good and compassionate man, a minister said to him one day, “Surely you must be a Christian!  Why haven’t you joined a church?”


            Lincoln replied that if he could find a church whose creed was summed up in, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,” he would join that church with his heart and soul!


            After the time his son Willie died in 1862, the greatest grief of his life, and before Lincoln’s death at age 56 in 1865, something happened which inspired him to begin to intensely study and pore over the Holy Scriptures.  He was seen reading the Bible daily and frequently.  Lincoln began to believe that the Civil War was the judgment of God of the sin of the nation for hundreds of years of slavery.   Lincoln declared, during this time, “When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian.  But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the grave of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.  Yes, I do love Jesus.  Shortly after that he told a friend that he had found the peace which had eluded him all his life. 


            In President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, he showed his deep spiritual insight into the causes of the Civil War and the people’s true need.  It was March 6, 1865, a little over a month before his death.  It has been described as “theologically intense,” “sacred,” even “prophetic,  containing “majestic biblical cadences.”  Others have labeled it as the most spiritual, religious speech ever given by any American president.  Lincoln declared:


                        “Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration

                        which it has already attained. . . . Each looked for an easier triumph,

                        and a  result less fundamental and astounding.  Both read the same

                        Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against

                        the other.  It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just

                        God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s

                        faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.  The prayers of both                                          could not be answered.  That of neither has been answered fully.  The

                        Almighty has His own purposes.  ‘Woe unto the world because of                                               offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man                                                by whom the offense cometh.’  If we shall suppose that American                                           slavery is one of those which, in the providence of God, must needs                                                come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He                                               now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this                                             terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall                                              we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which                                       the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?  Fondly do we                                               hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may                                                  speedily pass away.  Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the

                        wealth piled up by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of                                                unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with                                               the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said                                             three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the                                                Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”


            In the closing words of his address, Lincoln declared:                                                   

                        “With malice toward none, with charity toward all, with firmness in                                              the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the

                        work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who                                             shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan, to do all                                        which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among our-                                               selves and with all nations.”


            Lincoln had planned to make a public profession of his faith on Easter Sunday, 1865.  Three days before his death, he gave a speech in which he said he was submitting a proclamation for a national day of thanksgiving to God.  His last act was to issue an edict that all U.S. coins would bear the words, “IN GOD WE TRUST.”   April 14, 1865, he was gunned down by an assassin, John Wilkes Booth.


            When questioned about his last words, his wife replied:  “He said he wanted to visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footprints of the Savior.  He was saying there was no city he so much desired to see as Jerusalem.  And with the words half-spoken on his tongue, the bullet of the assassin entered his brain.” (“Jewish Jewels,” February 2004; William Federer, “America’s God and Country,” Encyclopedia of Quotations).


Theodore Roosevelt


            Another of America’s great presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, was also a Christian and deeply religious man.  In his campaign for the presidency in 1912, running against Woodrow Wilson, he sounded like a Biblical prophet, warning against the dangers of Germany.  He thundered against the life of “ignoble ease.” 


During his second campaign for president, when World War I was threatening to break out in Europe, he foresaw the danger.  He declared to his audiences, “We stand at Armageddon; we battle for the Lord.”


Roosevelt preached the ideals of the active, energetic, “strenuous life.”  He himself had been a rancher, shot a grizzly bear that almost killed him, captured outlaws in South Dakota, later traveled the Amazon, and shot wild game in Africa, and was famous for his love of the out-of-doors.  He was a “doer of deeds,” and lived the philosophy he advocated.


Roosevelt declared:


                        “In the long fight for righteousness the watchword for all of us

is spend and be spent. It is of little matter whether anyone man

fails or succeeds; but the cause shall not fail, for it is the cause

of mankind.

“We, here in America, hold in our hands the hope of the world,                            the fate of the coming years; and shame and disgrace will be ours                     if in our eyes the light of high resolve is dimmed, if we trail in the                    dust the golden hopes of men.”


            Throughout his presidency and political life, Teddy Roosevelt was assailed by critics, vilified by the press, and condemned vehemently by his political opponents.  He learned to stand up under stress and persecution.  Expressing his own philosophy of life, and life’s experience, Roosevelt wrote:


                        “Its not the critic who counts; not the man who  points out how the

                        strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done

                        them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the

                        arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives

                        valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there

                        is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually

                        strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great

devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best

knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the

worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place

shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither

victory nor defeat.”


Ronald Reagan


            During his tenure as president of the United States, Ronald Reagan was also vilified and excoriated by the press, hounded and harassed by his critics who accused him of being shallow in his thinking, too old for the job, and who were horrified by his blunt, direct, and to them “unsophisticated” foreign policy.  His critics accused him of being an “intellectual lightweight.”  The French and much of Europe viewed him as a naïve and simplistic “cowboy.”   The liberal left feared his contact with evangelical Christian leaders and his belief that a “nuclear Armageddon” would come in the future.


            Nevertheless, Reagan was right and his critics in high places were wrong.  As a result of his “simplistic” policy – “We win, they lose,” as he once said   the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union collapsed in upon itself.  It was his very courage and convictions, and actions that drove the Soviet Union into bankruptcy and caused the demise of the Communist empire which – when he came to office – was threatening freedom around the globe.  Unlike his predecessors, Reagan had faith and courage, and took bold, direct action – fearlessly – and by the end of his two terms in office, the Soviet Union had begun to crumble, collapse, and disintegrate.


            Ronald Reagan restored the prestige and the might of America.  Under his watch, more than $2 trillion dollars were invested for new weapons, and troops, in a great strategy to defeat the ogre of Communism in the Soviet Union.  In 1981, when he took over from President Carter, the military was demoralized, the fleet was shrinking, naval petty officers were quitting at the rate of 1,000 a month.  The army acknowledged it could no longer carry out its mission to defend America; the military had become “hollow.”  When Reagan left office, he had completely  revamped the military:  The fleet was near 600 ships, including the new Trident nuclear submarine with its long-range missile launchers; the army had the new Abrams main battle tank and Apache attack helicopters; and the air force commissioned the new B-1B bomber, which had been canceled by Carter.  All in all, the morale of the two million all-volunteer military, given a 12.5% pay raise, soared.  But national morale also rose into the stratosphere. 


         What kind of man was Ronald Reagan?  What were his roots?  What were his beliefs?  Why was he such an effective leader and statesman?  How could one man stand up to and demolish by his courage, convictions, and actions, the greatest threat to world peace the world had ever known? 


Reagan’s Spiritual Beginnings


            Ronald Reagan’s mother Nelle was an amazing Christian woman whom President Reagan credited for truly influencing him and his brother Neil.  He wrote, “Nelle Reagan, my mother, God rest her soul, had an unshakable faith in God’s goodness.  And while I may not have realized it in my youth, I know now that she planted that faith very deeply in me.  She made the most difficult Christian message seem very easy” (Hand of Providence, Mary Beth Brown, p.18).


            In An American Life, Reagan wrote, “I was raised to believe that God has a plan for everyone and that seemingly random twists of fate are all part of His plan.  My mother – a small woman with auburn hair and a sense of optimism that ran as deep as the cosmos – told me that everything in life happened for a purpose.  She said all things were part of God’s Plan, even the most disheartening setbacks, and in the end, she said, you didn’t let it get you down:  You stepped away from it, stepped over it, and moved on.  Later on, she said, something good will happen and you’ll find yourself thinking – ‘If I hadn’t had that problem back then, then this better thing that did happen wouldn’t have happened to me” (p.20).


            Nelle prayed like she had a direct connection with God.  President Reagan declared, “I’ve always believed that we were, each of us, put here for a reason; that there is a plan, somehow divine for all of us.  In an effort to embrace that plan, we are blessed with a special gift of prayer, the happiness and solace to be gained by talking to the Lord.”  He went on, “Many of us have been taught to pray by people we love.  In my case, it was my mother.  I learned quite literally at her knee.  My mother gave me a great deal, but nothing she gave me was  more important than that.  She was my inspiration and provided me with a very real and deep faith” (p.28).


            Ronald Reagan lived by a little saying Nelle had written in her Bible many years ago:  “You can be too big for God to use, but you cannot be too small.”


            A fellow worker with Reagan when he broadcast sports events at radio station WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, said of him, “I always thought he was a deeply religious man.  Not the kind who went to church every Sunday.    A man with a strong inner faith.  Whatever he accomplished was God’s will – God gave it to him and God could take it away.”


            Adrian Rogers, then president of the Southern Baptist Convention, met with Reagan in 1980, during the presidential primaries.  He cross-examined him extensively and came away reporting, “Governor Reagan said that his faith is very personal, that God is real to him.  He had a personal experience when he invited Christ into his life.  I asked him if he knew the Lord Jesus or just knew ‘about’ Him.  Reagan replied, ‘I know Him” (Brown, p.88).


            In the magazine Modern Screen in 1950, May issue, Reagan talked about prayer and dealing with hardships.  He had lost a daughter, just days old, had almost died himself, and his first wife had departed from him.  He knew personally the assurance promised in Psalm 34:18 – “The LORD is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.” 


Ron confided to the reporter, “Unfortunately, my rate of prayer increases with my troubles.  There hasn’t been a serious crisis in my life when I haven’t prayed and when prayer hasn’t helped me.”  He went on, “There was a wonderful line in Kings Row – Some people grow up and some people just grow older.’  I believe God intends us all to grow up, and that there are times when all of us ought to take stock and see if we are growing up or if we are merely growing older.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy to help us grow up.” 


Throughout his life, Ronald Reagan has “always felt hands on his shoulders, keeping him safe, and he has never doubted that they belong to God,” says his daughter Patti.  He would frequently tell her, “God always listens, and He’s always watching.”


Reagan put a lot of stock in the power of prayer.   When governor, people would stand across from his desk and say, “We have a problem.”  Reagan commented on this in a letter to a young lady, saying, “The help I have found is in turning to God and asking His help in prayer.  I believe very much in the power of prayer and feel if you ask sincerely for His help, it is forthcoming.  For me that has been the answer.”  He declared, “I have spent more time in prayer these past months than any previous period I can recall.  The every day demands of this job could leave me with many doubts and fears if it were not for the wisdom and strength that come from these times of prayer” (ibid., p.143).


Reagan’s faith itself was deep, personal, and strongly influenced his political beliefs and activities.  It was much more complex and embracing than a simple funda-mentalist faith.  His son, Michael Reagan, says, “My Dad was always religious. I remember him pointing to the lovely landscape and magnificent California trees around us when we took walks together and he’d say that they were the revelations of God’s handiwork.  He never really pushed his beliefs on others, though . . . he lived his religious beliefs . . . He always espoused his belief in God and how God made this beautiful land that we live in.  He’d say that this is God’s plan.  He knew God all of his life.  There may have been times when he wasn’t hand-in-hand with God, but God was always close.”


            Michael Reagan wrote in the “Foreword” of the book Hand of Providence:  The Strong and Quiet Faith of Ronald Reagan, written by Mary Beth Brown, “My father is a godly man.  He loves God.  When he decided to run for president, he didn’t do it to raise himself up, to be admired, or to have others think he was great.  He didn’t do it out of selfish reasons or because it is the most powerful position in the country.  He did it out of duty.  He believed God had called him to run for president.  He believed God had things for him to do” (p. x).


            In his eulogy at his father’s state funeral, Michael declared:


                        “Throughout it all my father never lost his sense of humility, his innate

                        decency, his love of country, and his love of the American people.  In

                        an age of incivility he was a gentleman to the tips of his fingers.  In all

                        my life with him I never saw him do anything to hurt another person.

                        He would have rather cut off his hands than offend a fellow human



                        “Above all, my father lived close to his Maker.  He accepted whatever

                        happened as the will of the Lord with absolute confidence.  And he

                        believed that he would receive what he needed to cope with whatever                                          problems arose.  This was the source of his great optimism


                        “. . . [M]y father prayed and meditated wherever he was.  He especially

                        liked to worship at his beloved Rancho del Cielo, his ‘open cathedral,’

                        as he called it, saying it reminded him of the line from Scripture:  ‘I lift

                        up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?  My help comes

                        from the Lord” (U.S. News & World Report, June 21, 2004).


            Says author Mary Beth Brown, about Reagan’s faith, “Current biographers have looked at Ronald Reagan through jaded eyes.  When you see someone through the eyes of a secular humanist, you will fail to see the vibrant Christian faith and fruits of the Holy Spirit that were evident in the life of Ronald Wilson Reagan.  To understand this man, his decision-making process as president, and the unprecedented success it produced, you must understand his reliance on God.


            “The writers who have attempted to explain Ronald Reagan have ignored this most important aspect of his life:  his faith in God, who rules in the lives of men and women who are committed to Him.  Reagan believed he had a calling upon his life from God, and he wanted to fulfill that calling” (p.xiii).


            When asked about his personal faith, Reagan himself told a questioner, “Having accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour, I have God’s promise of eternal life in heaven, as well as the abundant life here on earth that He promises to each of us in John 10:10.”


            In 1984, Reagan showed his indefatigable spirit of faith, when he declared:


                        “If we trust him, keep his work, and live lives for his pleasure, he’ll

                        give us the power we need – power to fight the good fight, to finish

                        the race, and to keep the faith.”


            Reagan believed that acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior is paramount to salvation.  He accepted Christ as Savior as a teenager, and continued to profess that belief throughout his life.  He credited God and divine intervention for his survival of the assassination attempt on his life in 1981.  He wrote during his recuperation, “Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve Him every way I can.”


            Ronald Reagan truly believed in the power of prayer.  He was almost constantly in prayer.  Biographer Edmund Morris saw him sitting down mumbling to himself and was surprised to learn that he was talking to God.  Reagan once told Jerry Falwell that he tried to begin every day as president praying, “O God, not my will, but Thine be done.” 


            Former Attorney General Edwin Meese worked with Reagan since he was governor and was a close, personal friend.  He observed, “The president feels a person’s religious beliefs are a very private matter.  He has never tried to exploit them or utilize them for political purposes.  At the same time, he feels a Christian has an obligation, when the opportunity comes up naturally, not to be reticent about professing his faith.


            “Of all the people I’ve ever known, I have never known anyone less uncomfortable about discussing religious matters in a very matter-of-fact and confident way.  To him, this is an important part of his life, and when the subject comes up, he is not at all hesitant to talk about it – and this was true way back in California” (Brown, op. cit., p.183).


The Assassination Attempt


            John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Reagan, in March of 1981, soon after he became president.  It was a very close call. 


            The bullet was found within an inch of the president’s heart.  It was a specially designed bullet for use in big game hunting, called a “Devastator,” because it was made to flatten out and cause maximum damage as it ripped through a body.  Its tip was filled with lead azide, a chemical designed to explode on secondary contact with something hard.  The chemical is a toxic poison.  Amazingly, the bullet did not explode when it hit Reagan’s chest.


            Writes Mary Beth Brown, “Many ‘miraculous factors,’ as the president called them, added up to the saving of his life.  And if any one of them had occurred differently, he most certainly would have died that day in March 1981.  President Reagan points out in his autobiography that most of the doctors that practiced at the hospital had been attending a special meeting that afternoon:  ‘Within a few minutes after I arrived, the room was full of specialists in virtually every medical field.’  He had turned to the reporter at just the right time when he was shot; otherwise, the bullet might have hit directly into his heart.  Reagan biographer Edward Morris points out that the limousine miraculously reached the hospital, although driving in uncontrolled traffic, in just three-and-a-half minutes.  And the bullet didn’t explode while Dr. Aaron was exploring for it – or at any other time since it had entered Reagan’s body.  ‘Jerry’s decision [Jerry Parr, the lead of the security detail with the president that day] to go directly to the hospital was the difference between my dad living or dying,’ Michael Reagan says in his autobiography, On the Outside Looking In.  Michael also says his father told him ‘that it was only divine intervention that kept him alive’” (p.14).


Says Brown, after this close call, “Recovering in the White House, President Reagan recommitted his life to God, writing in his diary, ‘Whatever happens now, I owe my life to God and will try to serve him in every way I can’” (p.15).


            Michael Deaver, a presidential aid, later told Peggy Noonan, “I know from conversations he and I had after the assassination attempt that there was no question in his mind that his life had been spared.  He absolutely believed it.  He felt the Lord had spared him to fulfill whatever mission it was that he was supposed to fulfill.  And he was gonna make sure that he lived his life to the fullest and did whatever he considered to be the right thing for the rest of his life.”


God and Ronald Reagan


            Paul Kengor in God and Ronald Reagan:  A Spiritual Life, tells a side of America’s president few really know.  It is a surprising book.  Kengor is not a religious zealot but a professor of political science who set out to write a book about how Reagan defeated Communism and the Soviet Empire.  But when he got into the original papers and letters of President Reagan, a whole new side of him opened up and he discovered a degree of religious intensity that has not been publicly known.


            As he began to write the book, the story of Reagan’s faith “overtook the rest of the book,” Kengor wrote.  Reagan’s mother was the greatest influence in his life, and she was a devout Christian who tithed faithfully and devoted her life to the poor and helpless, regularly visiting local hospitals, mental asylums, jails, carrying her Bible, apples, and cookies.  She was fearless in her Christianity.  She tithed scrupulously and taught her son to do the same.


            Reagan believed that acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior is paramount to salvation.  He accepted Christ as Savior as a teenager, and continued to profess that belief throughout his life.  He credited God and divine intervention for his survival of the assassination attempt on his life in 1981.  He wrote during his recuperation, “Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve Him every way I can.”


Reagan’s Legacy


            When Ronald Reagan was sworn into office, the world was in crisis.  People had lost their confidence in the country and its leadership.  American hostages were being held in Iran.  An aggressive Soviet Union was gobbling up countries in Africa, and central America, fomenting revolution nearer and nearer to our shores.


            Eight years later, when Reagan left office, the scene had changed – dramatically.  The Soviet Union was suddenly “left on the ash heap of history,” as Reagan had prophesied.  The world was safer, and the economy had performed an about-face and was booming, beginning a time of great economic expansion. 


Reagan’s Farewell Address

Ronald Reagan understood that faith is what made America great.  He was  deeply concerned that Americans would forget their heritage “under God” because of a powerful and influential secularism growing throughout the country.  

Reagan declared 1983 to be “The Year of the Bible.  That same year he gave his famous speech to the National Association of Evangelicals about the “evil Empire.”  Reagan knew that the Christian audience he was speaking to that evening fully understood the true significance of Independence Day – and the unique place the American people had in the world. But he wanted them to understand his own heart on these matters – and to take comfort in knowing their president also understood the dangers of secularism, which even back then was undermining our religious heritage at every opportunity.

Reagan told the audience, “I want you to know, that this administration is motivated by a political philosophy that sees the greatness of America in you, her people, and in your families, churches, neighborhoods, communities – the institutions that foster and nourish values like concern for others and respect for the rule of law under God.”

He went on, “Now, I don't have to tell you that this puts us in opposition to, or at least out of step with, a prevailing attitude of many who have turned to a modern-day secularism, discarding the tried and time-tested values upon which our very civilization is based. No matter how well intentioned, their value system is radically different from that of most Americans. And while they proclaim that they’re freeing us from superstitions of the past, they’ve taken upon themselves the job of superintending us by government rule and regulation. Sometimes their voices are louder than ours, but they are not yet a majority.”

Ronald Reagan’s America was an America “under God.”  American history makes no sense unless we acknowledge the vital role religion has played in our national heritage. The Declaration of Independence clearly states that we acknowledge that all our rights come from God, who is Sovereign and Creator over all.  The Declaration of Independence expresses America’s heart and soul.

Ronald Reagan was the “Last Great Lion” of the 20th century – the man credited the most for the fall of the Soviet Empire.  He was a deeply spiritual man, as all of America’s great presidents were.  America has been blessed with many spiritual giants as leaders throughout its history, especially in times of crisis. 


Undoubtedly this is because we are at heart a deeply religious people.  We are descended from Ephraim, the younger son of Joseph, who was taught the Torah at the bended knees of Jacob, his grandfather, and who absorbed this teaching deep into his inner being.




            In 1984, on the 40th anniversary of the landing of the Allied forces at Normandy, President Reagan spoke against the windswept cliffs, eloquently pointing out the motivation and heart of the American troops on that fateful day, D-Day, June 6, 1944:


            “Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here.  You were young

the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief. It was loyalty and love.

“The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the deep knowledge – and pray God we have not lost it – that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

“You all knew that some things are worth dying for.  One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.  All of you loved liberty.  All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.


“Something else helped the men of D-day, their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them: ‘Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do.’ Also, that night, General Matthew Ridgway was on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: ‘1 will not fail thee nor forsake thee.’

“These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.”

The heart and soul of Ephraim is manifest in these stirring words.  They describe our nation and our people in their best and brightest moment.  These same motives are manifest in the devotion and loyalty and purpose of American and British fighting men now serving their country in Iraq, battling for freedom and striving to bring democracy to a beleagured and abused nation which suffered such gross inhumanity under the brutal tyranny of Saddam Hussein.  They are “the best and the brightest.”  May God remember their good deeds and kindnesses and suffering on the behalf of others. 


            Willingness to sacrifice self for their country, which they love, and for the principles of freedom and liberty, for others – is it any wonder why God loves the American and the British peoples?  


The Boy Scouts organization, which began in 1907 by Sir Robert Baden-Powell of Great Britain, and was brought to the United States in 1910, exemplifies this character trait.  Today more than five million young boys belong to the Boy Scouts of America.  The Scout oath states: 


“On my honor I will do my best,

To do my duty to God and my country;

To obey the Scout law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”


            The Scout Law is also based on sound religious principles, and promotes solid citizenship and moral conduct.  Its twelve points state that a Scout is:  Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.


            The institution of Scouting promotes sound character development among young people.  It teaches boys to get along, to become good citizens, to participate with others, and to learn skills of survival and leadership qualities.  The Scout motto is “Be Prepared,” and its slogan is, “Do a good turn daily.”  Its foundational principles are clearly based on the Bible – the Torah and Christian ethics.  Scouting teaches by giving young people “hands on experience” – teaching by doing is the active principle underlying its program and activities. 


            These character traits are certainly the same traits exemplied by Joseph, the son of Jacob, and his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh!


The American Soldier


            James Dobson, in a special message on Memorial Day 2004, to American soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and coast guardsmen, described the beating heart in every true American.  His words give us deep insight into the heart of our people.


            “Since the dawn of our nation’s founding, every generation has endured a time of                         testing. From the first skirmish at Lexington, to the burning of the White House in               1812, to Teddy Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill, to the carnage and human cost               of the Civil War to the death and destruction of World War I to the surprise attacks                       and subsequent liberations of World War II, to the wretched winter campaign of Korea,                to the stalemate in the jungles of Vietnam and to the more recent war against terrorism              and tyranny in the Middle East, this nation has been through the types of trials and                 conflicts that, as Thomas Paine suggested, ‘try men’s souls.’ We are also facing our               challenges and dangers. The cast of characters may change, but the goal of the enemy                 has always been the same – to take away the freedoms of others who could not                     defend themselves. Last month, in an address to the American people, President                      Bush summed up the significance behind our tireless fight and the source of our

liberties by stating, ‘. . . freedom is not this country’s gift to the world; freedom                 is the Almighty’s gift to every man and woman in this world.’

“You might be familiar with a favorite author of mine who writes on issues related   to American military history. The late Stephen Ambrose wrote numerous best sellers, ranging from biographies of Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon to various works related to World War II. In Citizen Solider, Mr. Ambrose spoke eloquently to the noble and pure nature of the American warrior. All throughout history, he said, conquering soldiers looted, raped, pillaged, plundered and even murdered the people they had subdued. Americans in uniform, however, served as a significant exception. ‘Everywhere in the world,’ wrote Ambrose, ‘whether in Belgium, the Philippines, Germany, or Japan, the sight of a twelve-man squad of GIs brought joy to people’s hearts. . .the sight of those American kids meant cigarettes, candy, C-rations, and freedom. They had come, not to conquer, but to liberate.’”


            This nobility of character and purpose God foresaw in the days of Jacob, when he blessed Ephraim and Manasseh.  This noble character is why Ephraim was given the choicest and greatest of the blessings of the birthright!


Other Presidents and Patriots


            The theme of religious faith and Biblical foundation runs throughout the history of the United States of America like a mighty river – coursing from the Founding Fathers to the 21st century.  It is a strong flowing current throughout our turbulent history.   George Washington acknowledged, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible Hand which conducts affairs of men more than the people of the United States.


            Patrick Henry, the famous patriot and one of the founding fathers of the United States, declared:  “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”


            President Grover Cleveland declared, “Above all, I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men and whose goodness and mercy have always followed the American people, and I know He will not turn from us now if we humbly and reverently seek His powerful aid.”


            President Dwight D. Eisenhower professed, “Without God there could be no American form of government nor an American way of life.  Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first – the most basic – expression of Americanism.”


Why is this nation so unique in this regard?  Why are the American people, throughout their history, at heart, in their innermost being, so religious?  


            Why, indeed!  The answer lies in the upbringing of Ephraim, who learned the ways of God, the teaching of the Torah, from his grandfather Jacob, as he sat upon his knees as a little child. 


            The American, Anglo-Saxon people are descended in no small part from Ephraim, the second son of Joseph, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham!  When all is said and investigated, we have been a very religious, moral, and morally aware nation.  We have had our many faults, to be sure.  We have repeatedly transgressed the laws of God, and have had to repent and turn back to Him in heart-felt  repentance, sorrow, and contrition. 


Who Is More Religious?


            Our religious heritage testifies on our behalf, that we are a much more religious people than other nations around the earth.  We are Ephraim.  Great Britain and Canada constitute for the most part the tribe of Manasseh – very adept at ruling, but not nearly so religious and devout as the American people.


            America has a huge church going population.  Most Americans, even today, still identify themselves as “Christian” and go to church.  In Great Britain church attendance is way down.  Almost two thirds of Americans belong to a religious group, and of those 95 out of 100 are “Christian,” and 5 out of 100 are Jewish. 


            In Great Britain, the Church of England has come upon hard times.  An article in the Daily Mail boldly states, “Church may drop Sabbath day due to lack of interest.”  The article continues, “Sunday should be abandoned as the Sabbath day because nobody wants to go to church at the weekend,” according to a report by the Church of England (“Never on a Sunday,” Daily Mail, by Steve Doughty, January 20, 2004).


            Says Doughty, “Britain is no longer a Christian country and most of the population would rather spend Sunday with their families. . . The bleak assessment of the collapse of Sunday church-going follows years of declining attendance.  The number of people going to Sunday services fell below a million by 2000.”  During the 20th century, Sunday school attendance dropped from 55% to only 4% of children, “meaning that even the rudiments of the Christian story and Christian experience are lacking in most young people,” added the report. 


            Declining church attendance is matched by declining moral standards, and a terrible increase in promiscuity and profligate behavior among young people.  These problems are increasing throughout the Western world, even in America, but compared to Great Britain, America still has a much greater interest in religion.  “There are an estimated 40,000,000 evangelicals [Christians] in America.  The U.S. is regarded as the most ‘religious’ Christian country in the world!,” writes Shira Sorko-Ram in MaozIsrael Report.  “And it is this country that God is using to protect Israel’s existence at this very time while most of the world is quite willing to see her demise” (MaozIsrael, February 2004).


            But while Great Britain is navigating the slippery slope of diminishing faith and religious convictions, with declining interest in Christianity by the population, it is significant to observe that on March 20, 1992, President George Bush signed a historic Joint Resolution of the United States Congress, recognizing the Seven Noachide Laws as the “bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization.” 


            The Resolution urged America to “return to the moral and ethical values contained in the Seven Noachide Laws” (J.J. Res. 104, Public Law 102-104).


            This strong religious characteristic of America down through its history, from its inception even to the present day, is a very important identifying and defining mark of Ephraim!


            Writes Steve Bonta, in “America’s Hidden Strength,” appearing in the March 22, 2004 issue of The New American, “But the most important, indeed the foundational, element of American culture is the comparatively high standard of morality observed by American citizens.  This is a legacy of the deeply religious settlers who first settled what became the American colonies.  Motivated by both a desire to escape religious persecution in the mother country and to establish a higher, covenant-driven social order, the Pilgrims, Puritans, and other religious refugees of the 17th century set a standard of piety still recognized in our day.  Morality reinforced by religion is crucial to liberty; as Lord Acton pointed out, ‘liberty is the prevention of control by others.  This requires self-control, and therefore religious and spiritual influences’” (page 14).


            Bonta surveys modern-day America, and concludes, “Americans, for all our failings, are among the most moral people on earth.  We attend church far more consistently than our counterparts in Europe, for example.”  He also observes the sad plight of drug addiction, pornography, and other vices, but states that “they are nevertheless far less prevalent here than in much of the rest of the world.” 


            Even so, we have entered a critical time in our history.  Without any shadow of a doubt, America and her freedoms are today in great peril.  The moral decline in our nation, since the days of the founding fathers, is truly shocking.  We dare not rest on our laurels of yesteryear, and the deeds and piety of our ancestors.  America, today, along with the rest of the world, is in dire need of a spiritual shock treatment – and a return to the ways of the God who has blessed our nation from its inception to the present time.  If we don’t wake up and take stock of the situation, then a day of reckoning fast approaches. 


Faith and Liberty


            The difference between the approach to religion and faith by Americans and Europeans is fundamental.  Americans are descendants of men and women who fled religious persecution in Europe.  Writes Emanuele Ottolenghi in the Jerusalem Post, “Religious minorities fleeing European persecution created many North American colonies – Puritans in Massachusetts, Quakers in Pennsylvania, Catholics in Maryland, Baptists in the Carolinas.  When, two centuries later, their descendants gathered in Philadelphia, they agreed on one thing:  Government could not forbid religious freedom by legislating against this or that denomination, nor could it promote one denomination’s establishing one Church to the detriment of others.  In other words, the kind of religious freedom intrinsic to the US Constitution First Amendment aims to empower believers to freely practice their own faith.  It is a freedom that embraces the idea of religious pluralism, religious tolerance, and respect for different readings of the Christian gospel and revelation” (“Faith and Liberty,” International Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2004).


            The writer is a Leone Ginzburg Research Fellow in Israel Studies at Oxford University.  Europe, he says, is another story.  In Europe, “on the old continent there ruled one church, whether Protestant or Catholic, against which arose French revolutionaries and their Enlightenment supporters.  Freedom of religion in Europe is born out of a revolt against religion.” 


            The writer contrasts the two approaches toward religion and faith.  American liberalism proclaims “In God we trust,” he points out, whereas in Europe “God was perceived as liberticide because in God’s name, books and people were burnt.”  The differences are sanguine.  Says the author, “While American democracy, rooted in Protestant ethics and in the religious tolerance of the Anglo-Saxon liberal tradition, could reconcile faith and freedom, Europe’s nineteenth century’s anti-clerical liberalism has now become an atheistic, anti-religious and post-Christian sentiment, which views religion as synonymous with intolerance and sees it suspiciously as an obstacle to freedom and democracy.”


            In Europe religion is almost viewed as synonymous with oppression, whereas in the United States it is viewed liberating.  Therefore, the churches in the United States are far more energetic, alive, and a force to be reckoned with, whereas religion in Europe makes men cringe with worry and fear of oppression. In European history, religion often sided with the forces of reaction and tyranny and against religious liberty and freedom of conscience.  The two approaches have led to diametrically opposite results and a widely divergent view of religion. 


            This is another vital factor illustrating the fundamental difference between America – Ephraim, the more religious son of Joseph, with a religiously inspired democracy   and the nations of Great Britain and the rest of Europe.


Letter from a Prisoner


            A prisoner in Texas wrote me a letter, and put America in spiritual perspective, today.  I thought the letter was very profound in its insights.  He declared:


“I would like to commend you for the Jan-Feb.04 issue of the PF.  You hit the

nail right on the head, especially in the article ‘The Ugly Christian.’  You are

exactly right in pointing out the hypocrisy of so-called ‘Christians’ and how

America is not truly a Christian nation.  People like to refer to the fact that we had

great God-fearing leaders in our past such as George Washington and Abraham

Lincoln.  They think that somehow this justifies what we do now, but what have

we done for God lately?  Where are the true Christian leaders now?  You men-

tioned in Prophecy Briefs of this very issue about how one would think if there

were any other true Christians in high offices that they would have come to the

aid of Judge Roy Moore.  Well, even as I write this letter the mayor of San Fran-

cisco is illegally issuing same-sex marriage licenses.  He is clearly breaking the

law of California and just about everyone knows it, but our so-called ‘Christian’

President and the governor of California have done nothing to stop this.  If a mayor

of any U.S. city were to proclaim that murder is legal wouldn’t the governor of that

state and most assuredly the President intervene?  This clearly shows once again

that there is no true Christian leadership in this country.


“The main reason that people in America don’t repent is that they don’t see or

want to see that there is anything wrong with this country.  Take for example some

sins and acts that are rampant in America that God Almighty condemns; homosex-

uality (Rom.1:26-27).  Rich getting richer on the backs of the poor (Amos 2:6-7).

Strangers devour our strength and we know it not (Hosea 7:8-9).  A lot of people

including so-called ‘Christians’ don’t see anything really wrong with these things. 

We have all heard comments like, ‘The more diversity the stronger our nation is,’

and, ‘It’s just business.’ 


“Yet anyone who studies the Bible knows that God condemns homosexuality and

greed.  The Bible states that we have mixed ourselves among the people.  Not only

do we fail to realize that strangers are devouring our strength, we think that this

makes our nation ‘stronger.’  Most people in America think that all of this diversity

is good, yet the Bible states that a house or kingdom divided cannot stand (Matt.

12:25).  One thing is for sure, and that is America is clearly a nation divided.


“There is an old saying which is 100% true, that is the first step in overcoming a

problem (addiction) is to admit that you have a problem.  It is the exact same way

when it comes to  repentance.  The first step in repenting is to admit that you have

sinned and therefore have something to repent of.  If a person or nation does not

believe that they have something to repent of or that their way of life is wrong they

will not repent.


“In the weeks following the attacks of 9-11 all we could hear was ‘God Bless

America,’ yet within a year’s time of this great tragedy the California Supreme

Court outlaws the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ because of the phrase ‘One nation under

God,’ and even now this issue is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.  What

utter hypocrisy!  One minute it’s ‘God bless America’ and the next it’s let’s strike

the name of God from all mention!  Also, whenever anyone would suggest that

God allowed the attacks of 9-11 because of our great sins they would be told,

‘There’s nothing wrong with our way of life!’  This attitude shows exactly what

I mentioned earlier, and that is, people refuse to believe that America has sinned

greatly against God Almighty. . .


“I tell you that the words of Paul in II Timothy 3:1-5 certainly describe our nation.

‘Having a form of godliness (we claim to be a Christian nation) but denying the

power thereof (we put God out to pasture at every turn).  From such turn away.’ 


“May God help all of us to acknowledge that our country is wicked and has turned

its back on God.  If doing this makes ‘America’ look bad so be it.  We need to put

God and His Word first instead of covering up sin in order to maintain the idea

ofAmerica.’  Putting God and His Word in a corner because of a person, thing, or

even a name is idolatry.  Yes, this country used to be at one time the most God-

fearing nation on earth, but the sad truth is that America now is a completely

different nation.”  Those are sobering words.  America stands at a cross-roads. 


Judge Roy Moore’s Poem


            Judge Roy Moore is the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He achieved notoriety for his resistance to a judicial mandate to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the judicial building in Montgomery, Alabama.  For his alleged offence, he was stripped of his judicial office and persecuted by liberals and the ACLU and other anti-Christian organizations. 


            Judge Moore was removed from office because of his strong Judeo-Christian stance, but never apologized for his beliefs.  In the course of his trials and tribulations, Judge Moore wrote a tremendous poem, entitled “America the Beautiful.”  He wrote, in blazing and searing words :


                        America the Beautiful, or so you used to be.

                        Land of the pilgrim’s pride; I’m glad they’ll never see.

                        Babies piled in dumpsters, Abortion on demand,

                        Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is built on sand.


                        “Our children wander aimlessly, poisoned by cocaine,

                        Choosing to indulge their lusts, when God has said abstain.

                        From sea to shining sea, our Nation turns away

                        From the teaching of God’s love and a need to always pray.


                        “So many worldly pastors tell lies about our Rock,

                        Saying God is always broke so they can fleece the flock.

                        We’ve kept God in our temples, how callous we have grown,

                        When earth is but His footstool, and Heaven is His throne.


                        “We’ve voted in a government that’s rotting at the core,

                        Appointing Godless Judges who throw reason out the door,

                        To soft to place a killer in a well deserved tomb,

                        But brave enough to kill a baby before he leaves the womb.


                        “You think that God’s not angry, that our land’s a moral slum?

                        How much longer will He wait before His judgment comes?

                        How are we to face our God, from Whom we cannot hide?

                        What then is left for us to do, but stem this evil tide?


                        “If we who are His children, will humbly turn and pray;

                        Seek His holy face and mend our evil way:

                        Then God will hear from Heaven and forgive us of our sins,

                        He’ll heal our sickly land and those who live within.

                        But America the Beautiful, if you don’t, then you will see,

                        A sad but Holy God withdraw His hand from thee.”

We Have Forgotten God


            At the present time, the struggle to make the United States live up to its heritage as a “Christian nation” has fallen on hard times.  In its 1962 decision in Engel v. Vitale, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools could not sponsor specific prayers in the classroom.  The next year the Court banned state-sponsored Bible readings in schools.


            Last year (2003), the Ninth Circuit Court in California ruled that “under God” had to be dropped from the Pledge of Allegiance.  In June, 2004, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling on a technicality, since the father of the child who brought the lawsuit was not married or the custodial parent of the child.  This case still remains unfinished business, since the Supreme Court only dismissed the case because the father had no legal standing to file the lawsuit. 


            University of Tennessee-Chattanooga humanities professor Wilfred McClay, coeditor of Religion Returns to the Public Square, believes that hard-line secularists are determined to see “unbelief established as the only permissible expression by the state of any disposition toward ultimate things.”  Says McClay, “Expression like ‘under God’ in the pledge suggest that the nation is under judgment and subject to higher moral principles” (quoted in U.S. News & World Report, “The Faith of Our Fathers,” June 28/July 5, 2004).


            J. R. Church, of Prophecy in the News, wrote in the July, 2004 issue:  “A generation has been raised with the notion that prayer and Bible reading are forbidden.   Uncle Sam said it was!  The laws of our land are no longer founded upon the Ten Commandments.  Therefore, the politicians can become as corrupt as they want, and society can plunder the assets of what was once a great nation.


            “As a minister, I am tempted to lay the blame at the feet of every pastor and every Christian in America, but I must say that we are not altogether to blame – not in the past, and not now.  Having tried to warn society for so many years, I am convinced that what ministers and Christians say no longer carries any moral weight.  We are not the ‘salt’ and ‘light’ that we thought we were.


            “The real blame must be laid at the doorstep of evey politician . . . from the bully pulpit of the mayor’s office, to the courts, to the governors, to the state legislatures, to the Congress, and finally, to the bully pulpit of the American president.  I point the finger of accusation and say, ‘It’s your fault!’” (“Preparing America for the Mark of the Beast!”, Prophecy in the News, 2004, p.3).


            J. R. Church has a point.  However, one must also point the finger to many ministers and pastors who also have joined forces with the secularists to minimize the influence of religious faith based on the Bible in America.  The blame for this secularization of America is widespread and the sickness continues to get worse.  For many, it may well be a sickness unto death.


            This spiritual malaise was prophesied long, long ago, in the pages of Holy Writ.  Isaiah the prophet, about 713 B.C., eight centuries before Christ, was led by God’s Spirit to prophesy, “Go now, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, so that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.  For they are a rebellious people, faithless children, children who will not hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see’; and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel’” (Isa.30:8-11, NRSV).


            Because of this widespread attitude of rejection and ignoring of the Word of God in the conduct of life by people, God thunders, “Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:  Because you reject this word, and put your trust in oppression and deceit, and rely on them; therefore this iniquity shall become for you like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant; its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a sherd is found for taking fire from the hearth, or dipping water out of the cistern” (Isaiah 30:12-14).


            God says to His people, “For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength” (verse 15).


            The sooner we return to God and His laws, the better it will be for us.  Denial only means more suffering, more punishment, more pain and agony, because of the fruits of rebellion and transgression.


            The apostle Paul also warned of this rebellious end-time generation.  He wrote, “You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come.  For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power.  Avoid them!” (II Tim.3:1-5).


            Paul went on, in the next chapter, warning us, “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths” (II Tim.4:3-4).


            Hosea the prophet declares, “Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel [our people!]; for the LORD has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.  There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land.  Swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed.  Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing” (Hosea 4:1-3).