If it is legitimate excuse today, it will be one tomorrow.
If today it is a principle of the Word of God, it will be such a principle tomorrow and all the days thereafter. For the principles of God’s Word never change. Men may come and men may go. All flesh is as grass and soon passes away. But the Word of God abides forever. Not one jot or tittle of that Word will pass away, although heaven and earth shall both pass away as we now know them.
We do well, therefore, to take a serious and careful look, especially if we have already taken the position that there are conflicting callings for the child of God in this life and that he has to choose between them. If this is true, he had better be sure that he makes the proper choice. And he had better be sure that the conflict is not in his soul instead of in the Word of God.
That to which we refer and have in mind in regard to our calling to render honour to whom honour is due is the frequently voiced argument in defense of membership in the so-called neutral unions. Neutral they certainly are not, for how can that which is antichristian in its very approach to the problems of the working man be termed neutral? We have besides the words of Jesus, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”Matthew 12:30. That is not an oversimplification of the matter but the basic principle whereby all men and their actions may be judged and indeed must be judged. By their fruits ye shall know them. And when we find fruit of not gathering with Christ and not walking with Him in the problems of this world, or in any sphere of life, we have His word for it that it is antichristian activity.
But the excuse is raised that Scripture either contains contradictory or subordinate principles that demand of His people that in certain circumstances they join the so-called neutral unions in order to fulfill their God-given calling. We come then to find a conflict between the teaching of the Word of God that the labouring man must render honour to his employer and between the calling of every husband and household head to provide for the needs of his family. Paul says, does he not, in II Corinthians 12:14b, “For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.” It certainly is a man’s calling to work and to provide for the needs of his family. The sluggard is admonished to go to the ant and consider her ways. The law commands of us that we work six days. A man has a moral responsibility over against his family to provide for its needs and to be diligent to care for those dependent upon him.
But, and this is the point which we began to stress, if that means that one has to join the unions of the world, be unequally yoked with the unbelievers and support or even participate in their acts of dishonoring the employer, because of this calling which God gives to man to support his family diligently and faithfully, then this department and these lines of this magazine would be solemnly obliged to tell each and every reader that he should by all means in the dreadful days which lie ahead for God’s Church, willingly and unhesitatingly take the mark of the beast. Come to think of it, they would not in that way even be dreadful days, but times of prosperity and material advancement. But if the excuse holds today as far as the labor unions are concerned, whose very constitutions and preambles spell out the godless and antichristian principles for which they stand and on which they are founded, that excuse will be as valid in the days when the final form of all antichristian activity is upon this earth. In fact in those days when one will have to show his allegiance to the beast by taking his mark upon his right hand or forehead, the matter will be far more serious about providing for one’s families’ needs than even today. If today we are required to join ourselves with unbelievers in acts of riot, revolt, rebellion and revolution in order to hold our jobs, the requirement of that mark of the beast will be all the more important. Today one can get another job, often with less pay and a job for which one is not trained and skilled. But he can find another way to provide for his family without walking in a way of dishonoring those whom God has placed over him in the sphere of labor. In the days of the Antichrist it will be either take the mark of the beast or be given absolutely no right to buy or sell, which is far more critical than not being able to find work. You will find no social security, no State welfare, no doles, no support of any kind. And if it is a principle of the Word of God that one must provide for the needs of his family regardless of what commitments and alliances man must make in order to provide, this principle will still be there in the days of the Antichrist and the wholeChurch membership will have to heed this principle and take the mark of the beast, for that mark will touch every man, woman and child and not simply men in some fields of labor.
And then the fifth commandment will be set aside. Paul is mistaken when he says that we must render honour to whom honour is due. Man’s earthly needs are more important than his spiritual. We are to restate the truth and declare Jesus’ words not to be relevant to the day in which we live and therefore declare instead, “Seek ye first the things of this life, and the things of the kingdom of God and its righteousness will be added to you.” But let us remember that in the law we have four commandments FIRST in regard to our inner as well as outer conduct towards the living God. First is the commandment that we love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, and in that love to love the neighbor. Taking the mark of the beast in order to provide food for our loved ones is loving them in a lack of love towards God. It is taking a stand of opposition to Him in order to favor our families and loved ones. It is a love that is not in His fear, but in the fear that He cannot and will not keep His Word and take care of us. It is a love in the fear of losing the things of this life, because we are more interested in this than in losing God’s favour and the things of His kingdom.
No different is it when today we seek our daily bread in the way of rebellion, revolution, riot and revolt. When we seek — and today it is not even a case of the necessities but the luxuries of life — the things of this life in a way of dishonoring the authorities which God placed over us, then we dishonor God. And by our actions we condemn the Son of God in our flesh who told Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” The meaning, simply stated, is that we may not have any bread which we obtain in the way of breaking one of God’s commandments. That means we may not steal to eat. It means also that we may not riot and rebel against the employer, go on strike, insist that we retain our job but let the employer suffer loss while we refuse to work until he meets our conditions. As long as we insist that it is our job, we must honour the employer as employer and may not resort to force, coercion, violence, threat and the like to get him to go our way with wages or working conditions. We may not threaten him, put him in a “tight spot,” cause him inconvenience and loss in order to get our own way, to get our opinion adopted, to make him see things as we see them. Then we assume the position of employer, master or plain “boss,” and the honour we should bestow upon him we take to ourselves.
But you did not go on strike? You do not approve of these actions? You have refused the picket line and to serve in a blockade of the factory or the like? But have you protested against these evils and called them evils and sin and great wickedness before the union representatives? Have you joined labor organizations — either in factory, office, farming areas or what have you, it makes no difference — that practice all this violence, riot, threat and coercion, and then given a Christian witness that these things are of the devil and been left to go your way? It is safe to say that you have not, because by your very Christian witness you have already violated the constitution of these so-called neutral unions. They “make no bones about it” that they are not Christian, are not dedicated to the service of Christ Who said that man should not live by bread alone, Who moved Peter to write infallibly, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward, For this is thankworthy; if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully,” and Who through the Apostle John warns against taking the mark of the beast for bread and food and life.
Even then, if you object and are left to retain your membership in such an antichristian organization and the antichristian activities are continued and practiced, you are guilty of all of that violence, murder, destruction of property, dishonouring of the masters (employers), revolt and rebellion — and it is rebellion when one does not do the employer the honour of being master over his employees – because of corporate responsibility. As we wrote before, the wickedness of belonging to the so-called labor unions is not that organizing into unions is wrong. A united request for better working conditions and higher wages is not per se wicked. But the strike is and always is. Force, coercion always is. Taking things in our hands and come across is breaking not only the fifth commandment but also the eighth and the first! Listen to what the Heidelberg Catechism has to say about the eighth commandment in its positive demand, “But what doth God require in this commandment? That I promote the advantage of my neighbour in every instance I can or may; and deal with him as I desire to be dealt with by others: further that I faithfully labor, so that I may be able to relieve the needy.” If you do not want to accept this confession drawn up by man, you must still bow before the words of Jesus referred to therein, namely, the so-called Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The labor unions of the world do not subscribe to this but have substituted: Do unto others what you must and can in order to get them to do unto you the advantage and good that you seek!
And as long as you belong to institutions, organizations or societies that practice this evil after your protests have been rejected, you are responsible before God for all the evil of the organization which you continue to support morally and financially. The leaders who stand at the head of such organizations are by your choice your representatives. The members who actually do the violence are your servants and helpers who do the evil work for you; but you retain the guilt. And although our government has made union membership compulsory for some types of work, it has not made that work compulsory. And even if it did, We ought to obey God rather than man.
Is the matter really so serious? Just answer the question, Will it be so serious in the days of the mark of the beast? Why cannot we not do a little thing like that? Why can we not join his ranks and still hold on to our religious convictions in silence and seclusion? Why can we not vex our righteous souls as Lot and stay in Sodom? Well, God brought him out, did He not? and showed us that otherwise we will perish with the wicked. Are you sure that He will bring you out? Elimelech tried to live by bread alone and went to Moab for a short sojourn, till the famine was over in Israel. He never got back but died in exile!
And again, Adam and Eve may seem to have committed such a “little sin,” but it is the cause of all our woe and death today. Ham’s sin seemed so minor, but the curse came because of it. Uzzah seemed so concerned with God’s cause, but God smote him at once when he touched the ark. And we could go on. ANY sin of any kind is not honouring GOD to Whom all honour is due. All sin is telling Him that we will not honour Him as the Lawgiver. In His fear we will render honour to Him. And if we do not, we must live in fear of His holy wrath. Our God is a consuming fire.