I have been thinking for a long while about the Law of the Medes and Persia. What do we know about it? From the scriptures, we can see that it got foolish kings into trouble.
“Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.” Daniel 6:15
In the book of Esther, Ahasuerus was bribed into making a law that would extinguish the Jews from his domain. Little did he know that his precious wife and her people were the folks he had hastily condemned to death. In the book of Daniel, Darius is advised to make a law requiring that every member of his kingdom make petitions to only the king for 30 days. He makes this decree and immediately regrets his decision. Upon reading these stories, I have often thought about how incredibly foolish these kings were. I have asked myself why they would make such laws, knowing that they couldn’t change their minds even if they wanted to.
Let’s break this down a little. I can imagine two reasons why a code of laws would work in such a way:
- Perhaps it was believed that these kings were deities, incarnations, or just so righteous that they could make no mistakes. In this case, to break their own decree would be a sign of pretending to be something they were not, or at the very least a sign of weakness.
- Perhaps it was considered fair that the king be subject to his own laws, to prevent an unrighteous king from showing favoritism or from getting away with murder.
Let’s talk a little bit about point one. If these kings had been gods, it would have made sense that they wouldn’t go around making up laws and then later changing their minds. Let’s consider our God for a moment. When He makes a decree, is it subject to change? Would he regret that He demanded righteousness from His people and later erase the Law, rendering it worthless? Or would He rather provide a way for mankind to somehow meet the requirements of His righteous Law?
Consider this problem in religion today. How do we know that Mohammed was not truly Allah’s prophet? One of the easiest ways is to take a look at the list of Mohammed’s inconsistencies. You can find an explanation and a list on this page. If Mohammed had truly heard from God, you wouldn’t expect him to be constantly changing his mind all the time.
How about Catholicism? They claim to have the power to change God’s ordinances at will. Just look into their history a little bit, and you will see how presumptuous they are. But can the righteousness of God be altered? Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and I have a perfect example for you. On Fridays during Lent, it is forbidden for Catholics to eat meat. Oh, except, well, nevermind if St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday. Just never mind. Go ahead and have that corned beef or whatever. It’s okay, but just for one day. We don’t want to ruin your party. (More like we don’t want a reason to excommunicate folks who would otherwise be paying tithes.)
Do you see? Is it clear? Inconsistency is key to determining whether a religion or a religious observance is legit. Some Jews know this and have good reason to scoff at Christians when we tell them that the Law is no longer valid. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2 (Also see Deut. 12:32, Proverbs 30:6, and Revelation 22:18-19)
Note: I am not condemning Muslims, Catholics, Christians, or anyone else who has been fooled by a religious leader. I am issuing a wake-up call. See tomorrow’s post for more on that topic.
How about point two? Is it reasonable to expect that our righteous God would abide by His own righteousness? Or does He somehow exist outside of righteousness? Is He “above the Law”? What we sometimes fail to remember is that God and His righteousness are inseparable. They are not two different things – they are one and the same: The Law is the righteousness of God (Psalm 119). Jesus is the Torah, the Word made flesh (John 1) – the very righteousness of God revealed (Romans 1).
So, did God change His mind about His Law?
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19
“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.” I Samuel 15:29
“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” Psalm 89:34
I read this article about the topic, and thought you might find it interesting. The comments and responses are also worth the read.
I also found the second half of this page interesting, concerning Law-abidingness.