By Donald S. Conkey – There are two dates this week that are embedded in my mind as much as my birthday. December 15, yesterday, is a date I share with all Americans. And it should be a date special for all Americans because it was on this date in 1791; 219 years ago yesterday that America’s Bill of Rights was ratified and became the foundation for all those freedoms that all Americans cherish so much – with many willing to die for them. Without the Bill of Rights America would just be another nation, not a special nation of freedom.
The second date is very personal to me. On December 17, 1960 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and made my covenants with him – and tomorrow will be my Golden Anniversary as His disciple.
Some may not see a connection between these two events but for me there is a strong connection. John 8:31-32 made this connection for me. These verses read: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
They not only connect these events but for me they, I believe, connect America’s Bill of Rights directly to Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence – which is, I believe, connected to the Lord’s Ten Commandments, commandments that all who consider themselves to be “His disciples” covenant to accept and incorporate into their lives.
Christ’s words were specific: personal freedom depends on his disciples “continuing in His Word,” and this would be especially pertinent today as progressives have been successful in removing most references to God from the public square. Today’s progressives won’t admit it, and do not want our children to know this, but Jefferson, in writing the declaration, declared that the two cornerstones of America’s freedoms are: “the Laws of Nature,” and “the laws of Nature’s God,” who his disciples believe is Jesus Christ. How much more of a connection between Jesus and freedom does America need?
Those who have studied the life of Thomas Jefferson fully understand that his life was centered on the words of Jesus Christ. He was indeed a “disciple of Jesus.” Those ‘disciples of Jesus,’ who believe in personal prayer, including Jefferson, believe they receive answers to their prayers. Answers to personal prayers are, at least for me, personal revelations. I believe that, as a dedicated ‘disciple of Jesus,’ Jefferson, during those 15 days he was drafting that unique Declaration of Independence, the document that would literally change the world, would spend as much time on his knees in prayer, maybe more, then he would sitting at his disk writing down those words coming to him via personal revelation – words that would soon become the document that would restore freedom to a world than enslaved.
As I read America’s Bill of Rights today I see the Hand of God in them. They are as connected to Jesus’ words in John as are Jefferson’s words in his declaration that declare “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 them are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness …” Note how these words of Jefferson made their way into the Preamble of our Constitution with “and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” and into the constitutions of many nations worldwide.
It was Jefferson’s words I believe that gave George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, and Governor Edmund Randolph, as well as today’s Tea Party Patriots, the courage to stand amongst 39 others, those who had labored nearly four months to create the Constitution and say no – it is not complete yet – it does not spell out and guarantee those freedoms we fought and died for during the Revolutionary War.
Is it a coincidence that there are Ten Commandments and a Bill of Rights containing only ten amendments? I believe that when Jesus declared ‘the truth shall make you free’ he was referencing the Ten Commandments amongst many other truths. They are a “Code of Conduct” that governs the relationship of man with his God, and man with all other mankind. America’s Bill of Rights is a “Code of Conduct” between “We the people of the United States” and our government and our government with “We the People.” Coincidence! I don’t think so.
Yes America, America’s Bill of Rights was indeed a vital vital afterthought.