The Bible Against the State

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I must confess,
I am not a Christian, myself. Not even a believer. For this reason,
I do not consider it my duty to follow God's Word as it is transcribed
in the Bible. I am a convinced anarchist, though, but for other
philosophical reasons.

Obviously,
not all believers are Christians. Even, not all Christians consider
the Bible as God's literal Word. Neither do they have to. Therefore,
my contention, here, is not that all believers, or even all Christians,
should be anarchists. But it is my contention that all those who
consider the Bible as God's Word — and His Words to be literally
followed, should.

For it is my
contention that there is one and only one political position defended
throughout this Book: anarchism. Which is constantly presented as
the only one in accordance with God's Will. To the contrary, political
obedience is constantly condemned as a breaking of the Testament,
and a giving into Evil.

Because the
Big Book is a big book, it is impossible to study, or even indicate,
all of the elements that support this thesis.1
So, I will only give two examples. One from the Old Testament, and
one from the New.

"Ye said
unto me: a king shall reign over us, when the LORD, your God, was
your King."  [Samuel, XII, 12]

The story of
the Hebrews, as described in the Old Testament, is quite easy to
sum up: God saves His people, who continually fall prey to new kings.
So says Samuel [XII, 6--11]:

"And
Samuel said unto the people, It is the LORD that advanced Moses
and Aaron, and that brought your fathers up out of the land of
Egypt.

Now therefore
stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all
the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your
fathers.

When Jacob
was come into Egypt, and your fathers cried unto the LORD, then
the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, which brought forth your fathers
out of Egypt, and made them dwell in this place.

And when
they forgot the LORD their God, he sold them into the hand of
Sisera, captain of the host of Hazor, and into the hand of the
Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought
against them.

And they
cried unto the LORD, and said, We have sinned, because we have
forsaken the LORD, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth: but now
deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.

And the LORD
sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered
you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled
safe."

Each time His
people forsaken The Lord — each time they sin and worship other
kings, who finally oppress them, He sends "Judges," such
as Jerubaal, to deliver them.2

And it is the
story of one of them, the latter, which will be my first example.
Rather, the story of two of his sons, Abimelech and Jotham. It goes
as follows [Judges IX, 1--15]:

"And
Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother’s
brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the
house of his mother’s father, saying,

Speak, I
pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better
for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore
and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember
also that I am your bone and your flesh.

And his mother’s
brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all
these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for
they said, He is our brother.

And they
gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house
of Baal-berith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons,
which followed him.

And he went
unto his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons
of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone:
notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left;
for he hid himself.

And all the
men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo,
and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar
that was in Shechem."

Now, what is
interesting is Jotham's reaction, and more precisely the prophetic
parable he tells:

"And
when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of
mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said
unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may
hearken unto you.

The trees
went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said
unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.

But the olive
tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me
they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

And the trees
said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.

But the fig
tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good
fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?

Then said
the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.

And the vine
said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and
man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

Then said
all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.

And the bramble
said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then
come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come
out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon."

In fact, it
would not be a far-fetched interpretation to read the preceding
parable, not only as an anarchistic, but even as a libertarian
prophecy. And there would be much more in the Bible — particularly
in the New Testament — to support a libertarian reading of it. This
should be the object of a future article, I guess.

As a matter
a fact, the previous one-line sum-up of the Old Testament ("God
saves His people, who continually fall prey to new kings")
is not only Samuel's, but even The Lord's own saying. And
the same is true of the prophecy of the evil of politics.

Samuel was
a Judge. But he was getting old, and his sons did not follow his
steps.

"Then
all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came
to Samuel unto Ramah,

And said
unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways:
now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

But the thing
displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us.
And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

And the LORD
said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all
that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but
they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

According
to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought
them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken
me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.

Now therefore
hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them,
and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

And Samuel
told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him
a king.

And he said,
This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you:
He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his
chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his
chariots.

And he will
appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties;
and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest,
and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

And he will
take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and
to be bakers.

And he will
take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even
the best of them, and give them to his servants.

And he will
take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to
his officers, and to his servants.

And he will
take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest
young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

He will take
the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

And ye shall
cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen
you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

Nevertheless
the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said,
Nay; but we will have a king over us;

That we also
may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and
go out before us, and fight our battles.

And Samuel
heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the
ears of the LORD.

And the LORD
said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king.
And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his
city." [Samuel, VIII, 4--22]

"Get
thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord
thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" [Matthew IV, 10].

My second example
is even more convincing; and much more than an example! It is the
third temptation of Jesus (according to Matthew, and the second
according to Luke). It may be found in Matthew IV, 8–10, as well
as in Luke IV, 5–8.

Jesus, "led
into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil," was finally
taken up into an exceeding high mountain, where the Tempter…

"…sheweth
him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

And saith
unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall
down and worship me.

Then saith
Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou
shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

How many things
we should enlighten in this five verses! Let's stress four only.

1."All
these things I will give thee…." From this, it clearly follows
that state power belongs to the Devil. Such a deduction is
not far-fetched, at all. It is Luke's exact saying:

"And
the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him
all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

And the devil
said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory
of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I
will give it.

If thou therefore
wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

And Jesus
answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it
is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only
shalt thou serve."

2."All
the kingdoms of the world…." What comes from the Devil is not
the power of such or such state, but state power in general,
geographically and chronologically speaking. It is the power of
all states, state power itself — which is contrary to God's
Alliance with His people, or rather, with the whole of Humanity,
as far as the New Testament in concerned.

3. "Thou
shalt worship the Lord thy God…." If all the kingdoms of the
world did not constitute an Empire of Evil, then, assuredly,
Jesus would have said so. He would have replied to the Devil that
their power and glory are not delivered unto him, or that
they should be delivered from him and given back to The Lord, to
whom they righteously belong. But Jesus does not. To the contrary,
he acknowledges that state power belongs "to whomsoever
[The Devil] will give it," when he only replies that it is
sinful to serve and worship the latter.

4."…and
him only shalt thou serve." The conjunction of those two propositions,
in this very context, means nothing else than that anarchism is
logically implied by the first and foremost Divine Commandment [Exodus,
XX, 3]:

 Thou
shalt have no other gods before me.”

It is even
clearer in the context of the Decalog:

"And
God spake all these words, saying,

I am the
LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt
have no other gods before me."

It is after
He has characterized Himself as a political Savior (a God saving
His people from politics) that the Lord delivers His first Commandment:

"Thou
shalt have no other gods before me."

Which explains
why "all the kingdoms of the world" are delivered unto
the Devil and whomsoever he gives them to.

Conclusion:
The "King of kings."

The Lord is
sometimes referred to as the "King of kings," in the Bible
[e.g., Revelation, 17]. But there is no possible comparison between
His King-dom and theirs. To the contrary, the latter are — all of
them! necessarily! evil empires. So God says, if we believe the
Bible.

Just the same,
His Kingdom is sometimes referred to as the "Heaven of heavens"
[e.g., Deuteronomy, 10], but the first has just nothing to deal
with the blue sky above us. The "Heaven of heavens" means
the Absolute sky, just as the "King of kings" is
the True and Only Real One. All other kings are false
ones: tempting, and deceptive, just like the blue sky (where pagan
gods and semi-divinized political authorities have their homes)
is only a make-belief, compared to His Kingdom.

  1. A lot
    of what follows comes from Jacques Ellul, Anarchy
    and Christianity
    . Or rather, from the original French
    version.

  2. The difference
    between a "Judge" and a king is that the former indicates
    what is right, according to God's revealed Will, while the latter
    substitutes his will and laws to The Lord's Commandments. The
    former pushes His people closer to The Lord, Whom he serves, while
    the latter pushes them away from Him, and has them worship and
    serve himself instead.

    Indeed,
    the Jewish traditional law system is one of the best examples
    of a stateless and efficient justice. This point cannot be developed
    here, but should be in a future article.

August
1, 2008

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