Recovering the Meaning and Authority of July 4th

Despite America being currently shaken to its foundation, we are a blessed nation, with holidays like Independence Day—commonly known as the Fourth of July—that have far-reaching significance. If more Americans only understood that they are both the true heirs and protectors of the birth of freedom in the world, July 4 celebrations might well take on a new dimension. This could potentially ignite Americans from all walks of life to sacrifice more time and resources and join the ranks of the growing patriot movement that is dedicated to saving America’s freedom at this critical time.

America stands apart, even in its founding. Every other nation birthed before the United States came into being from an evolution of tribes or clans; royalty and blood lineage; inevitabilities of language, culture, tradition, geography; or from the results of war where the victors carved up the vanquished. America is the only nation in human history that was completely born of noble and deeply spiritual principles: that all men are created equal, that they have been given by God certain rights that cannot be taken away by any man or earthly authority, and that those inalienable rights combine to create and protect a thing called freedom in life. And that has meant that Americans were free to pursue happiness, free to worship God, free to speak publicly of their views, and of course, free to choose their leaders. 

America is the only nation born of the noble and deeply spiritual principles: that all men are created equal, that they have been given by God rights that cannot be taken away by any man or earthly authority.

Consider this: The very freedoms and rights that we have taken for granted for hundreds of years in the United States did not even exist in Asia—the most populated part of the world—prior to World War II. Asian states and societies were all autocratic, with people at the top having the power and privileges and people at the bottom having neither rights nor much in the way of freedom. After the Allied powers’ victory, however, democratic self-government was granted to India and Japan in 1947, and it spread from there, however imperfectly.

Freedom could have potentially extended to mainland China if the U.S. had not been weary of war. In addition, the U.S. State Department and its military leadership in China was not committed to supporting Chiang Kai-shek’s forces, having been compromised by various diplomatic individuals both sympathetic to the CCP and naïve about Mao Zedong. That failure led to communist takeover of the most populated country in the world. Even now, the freedom of Taiwan, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, and even our homeland of the United States are threatened.

No matter the odds against freedom today, we can take heart and resolve from our history. In the first few years of the War of Independence, George Washington’s undertrained, underequipped, and underfunded Continental Army was only half the size of the highly trained professional British army and their allied German Hessian mercenary troops. The naval mismatch was even greater. The Continental Navy had about twenty-five converted merchant ships while the British naval power was more than ten times greater, with 270 dedicated warships concentrated around east coast colonial ports. Things looked grim for the American cause.

However, the courage, determination, and godly faith of the founders made the difference. The last sentence of the Declaration of Independence before the space allotted for signatures reads, “…for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protections of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Indeed, July 4 for those founders was a serious and somber occasion. General George Washington was in New York preparing its defense, when on July 6, 1776, a courier from Philadelphia arrived to deliver a copy of the Declaration of Independence that had been agreed upon by delegates of the Continental Congress just two days before. There were just two signatures on that document: John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, and Secretary Charles Thomson. Because the odds of prevailing against the British were so low and the penalty for treason was death, it had been decided not to reveal the identities of the other fifty-four who had voted for the Declaration.

In the summer and fall of 1776, Washington would encounter defeat and retreat after losing all three major battle campaigns in New York, at the cost of 4,100 men killed or taken prisoner. Less than two months later, however, Washington had two victorious successive surprise attacks, defeating a Hessian garrison in Trenton, New Jersey the day after Christmas 1776 and then routing the British in nearby Princeton eight days later. The Continental Congress perceived these back-to-back wins as a turning point in the War of Independence. So in January 1777, they released and distributed the Declaration to all the colonies, complete with all fifty-six signatures.

As it turned out, Washington would lose more battles than he won in the next five years, but he persisted with unwavering faith in God and in the cause of freedom. A myriad of developments that only Providence could have arranged made Washington’s 1781 victory at Yorktown possible, bringing Great Britain’s final and total surrender. In retrospect, even more remarkable than the reversal of odds resulting in the American military victory was the spiritual power of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that followed; this spiritual power established that the rights of the people come from God and not the state and that the sovereign powers of the state would be shaped and limited by those people.

When secular forces hastened, driving God out of America’s culture some sixty-plus years ago, that void was filled with false idols and divisive spiritual influences. Little wonder that average Americans today feel demoralized and confused about the self-destructive direction of the country. A corrupt ruling elite in America seems to have neither respect for the people’s welfare and rights, nor for the Constitution that served previous generations of Americans so well.

Secular forces have driven God out of America's culture and filled the void with false idols. Our corrupt ruling elite have neither respect for our welfare, nor for the Constitution. But everything can change if Americans realign their interests with God.

Everything can change if Americans realign their interests with God who assures us that “we can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Just as success followed the resolve expressed on July 4th, 1776, we too can tap into the same unstoppable spiritual authority that enabled the founders to overcome impossible odds.

To do so, however, we must acknowledge that spiritual authority. Many Americans lack appreciation for the meaning behind holidays, but the term holiday originally came into usage as synonymous with “holy day.” July 4th is truly a holy day for Americans.

Thomas Jefferson, who championed freedom in his writing of the Declaration of Independence, called America “the world’s best hope.” Abraham Lincoln, whose cause became expanded freedom through the abolition of slavery, called America “the last best hope of earth.” President Reagan declared that “if we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.” All Americans need to be reinvigorated by our history and the unparalleled liberties the American Republic has championed.

The nightmare of one’s house burning prompts immediate response—dropping everything to save loved ones. America has been set on fire to destroy our freedom, and it is time for everyone to get involved in the effort to save our home and our freedom.     

Let’s make this July 4th not only a day of celebration of our founding ideals but also a time of renewed commitment to engage and awake everyone we know that it’s time to resist creeping tyranny and political corruption, reclaiming sovereignty over the precious possessions of our freedoms and rights. And just as Washington succeeded against impossible odds by his faith, persistence, and courage, we too will prevail.


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