The Exclusive Kingdom of God

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In societies
where the majority of people would call themselves Christian, many
prevailing beliefs originate from distorted understandings of the
Bible.

In his two
book series entitled "An Austrian Perspective on the History
of Economic Thought", Murray Rothbard chronicles the ebb and
flow of freedom within Christianity. One of the most interesting
sections is chapter 9 in book
2
, which covers the rise of communism and its origins in corrupted
Messianic Christian doctrine. Also, be sure not to miss the appalling
story of the "Christian" communist "King Bockelson"
in book 1
(section 5.6).

It is by no
means all negative, but the historical record in these books would
shock the average Christian, were it known. Time and again, leaders
have misused Christian teaching and always, it seems, the basis
is the same: That the authority or Kingdom of God must be imposed
by force through an earthly kingdom or government.

Each variation
on this theme merely adjusts the law of the State — it never questions
whether such a government is necessary. In each case, the Kingdom
of God is considered inclusive of, or inextricably linked to, an
earthly system of government. "Powers that be" must simply
enforce a more correct doctrine.

Years ago,
I called myself a "Christian conservative" — albeit with
libertarian leanings. But I was always scratching my head, wondering
why Jesus never advocated any particular regulations or any particular
form of government. So, I just presumed that meant we were to make
our own up and impose right behaviour and general principles of
the Bible through "godly" government.

Idolatry
of the State

"You
shall have no other gods beside Me
" — Exodus 20

I was not alone.
It is true to say that the prevailing doctrine today — amongst Christians
both left and right — is that government is ordained of God and
destined to be alongside the church as the arm and voice of God
in the earth. Therefore, it follows that the State has special privilege
and moral exemption. That it has a divine right to formulate laws
of the land, and to punish those who do not comply. Any misgivings
about the "divine right of kings" have been superseded
by a supposed moral legitimacy bestowed by an electoral majority
(Hitler being a brief glitch).

But this is
a way of believing that government is another god — a false deity.

What are the
characteristics of a false god?

Here are some:

A "power"
that orders and directs the lives of its believers.

A power believed
to protect, rescue and save.

A power believed
to offer hope.

A power believed
to be great, glorious and overwhelming — whether good, evil or ambiguous.

A power believed
to demand service above all else, even the lives of its followers.

A power believed
to be fearful, violent and destructive when disobeyed.

A power with
a strong visible presence — symbols, buildings, and temples of indoctrination.

A power maintained
by a hierarchical, self-serving priesthood, obscuring the truth
with blind faith.

Such is exactly
the case with the modern State and its flag worship, grand public
buildings, monopolised education system, violent enforcers, and
cloud of paid officials, experts and politicians.

The "State
Family"

Some Christian
leaders actually liken the government to a great big family. They
try to legitimise the State by using a more natural authority structure
as the pattern. But there is so much more to their belief in government,
that it can only be called idolatry:

Suppose, for
example, a father told his son to go out and steal. No Christian
would advocate obedience. But when it comes to the State taking
as much as it wants, by violent enforcers, many Christian leaders
believe it has the power of deity and must be obeyed.

Suppose a father
told his son to kill someone who refused to obey the father, or
refused to pay a fee. Or, suppose he told the son to go and kill
someone in another country. No Christian would support that. But
they will salute those who do it for the State and shrug it off
when the innocent die.

The authority
of a father or mother, though ordained by God — including within
the Ten Commandments — is clearly understood to be limited by the
other laws of God.

But the State
was never ordained by God, it has no part in creation or redemption,
and has only implicit condemnation in the first
and the second
of the Ten Commandments. Its very existence and
idolatrous nature is explicitly condemned in a whole, detailed chapter:
1 Samuel 8 (e.g.
7–8
) and then again in 1 Samuel 12 (e.g.
17
).

On top of
this, the wilderness temptation of Jesus included the acknowledgement
that all States belong to Satan. Jesus passed this test, but how
many Christians are bowing down for power? Thankfully, some do understand
that demonic "principalities
and powers
" are inextricably linked to their earthly counterparts.

What is more,
the State cannot even exist without exempting itself from moral
laws against violence, theft and murder. Every rule it makes is
backed by violence against those who refuse to obey. Every action
it takes is made possible only by theft as, unlike the father of
a family, it produces nothing.

The family
is the only God-ordained form of "government", the only
proper institution of provision and protection for dependants. It
stands in direct opposition to the State, particularly in the social
aspect of life. The extended family and groups of related families,
form a natural channel for the emergence of respected elders and
judges — the default mode for all societies where the State has
made few inroads.

For these reasons,
governments seek to assume family responsibilities, to reduce families
to an appendage of the State, and especially to undermine the natural
head of the family, the father.

For the same
reasons, they subsidize and encourage libertine behaviour that destroys
the competing institution from within. The ultimate goal today is
to destroy the family, immediate and extended, by any means possible.
This is one reason failure to honour father or mother and adulterous
behaviour are treated so seriously under the Old Testament Law.

The choice
is simple: Family ties or bureaucratic shackles, the family or the
State. There is no lasting in-between.

The Old
Covenant And The New

The Old Testament
Israelites knew that we were created individually in the image of
God, not in a pagan pyramid-like State hierarchy of minions and
masters.

They knew they
were descended from Abraham, who lived free of the States around
him, was "very
rich
" yet not subject to any taxation, and who bluntly
refused
State largesse.

They experienced
450 years of a stateless
society
in a world of tyrannies, after escaping slavery in Egypt.

They heard
the warnings from God contained in 1
Samuel 8
about idolatry of the State and the slavery it produces.

But they,
God's chosen people, still chose a King and all the officialdom
that goes with it. We are told
in the New Testament that events were recorded then for our instruction
today.

If there is
one thing that 1 Samuel 8 underlines, it is the sovereignty of our
human will — given to us by God. Though it was clearly not God's
will and though it would have bad consequences, the people were
free to choose. In honouring their choice, thank God that He did
not abandon them completely, but in no way should it ever be said
that government is ordained by God.

Certainly there
were problems under the 450 years of Judges, where "everyone
did what was right in his own eyes
" (i.e. they were
free). But the following years of Kings were much worse in comparison
— in fact, other than David and Solomon, finding a good king is
a chore.

Christians
believe that the Old Covenant Law served to show us our need for
forgiveness — the higher the standards we set, the more obvious
this need becomes. That the Old Covenant had temporary animal sacrifices
that were primarily symbolic and could never substitute for a human
being.

Yet under this
covenant, Israel managed 450 years without a State, and even after
that, the Kings were permitted only 10% taxation (OK, they took
more anyway).

If Christians
believe that the only real sacrifice or substitute for our punishment
was that of God the Son, our creator; if we believe the book of
Hebrews that we are therefore in an even "better
covenant which was established on better promises
";
are we then to be more enslaved than even those under the old covenant?

Governments
today are consuming close to 50% of productivity. Their tentacles
are intruding into every area of life. Are we to be worse off than
those under an obsolete covenant? Must Christians now accept a condition
of servility not only lower than the Old Covenant, but in effect,
more like the ungodly nations around the Israelites?

Some Christians
claim the Israelites had a better relationship with God on earth
than us, and so government is now necessary. Some strain over the
narrow point that the State of 1 Samuel 8 was a monarchy, and does
not apply to a modern democracy. But what is so holy about the Greco-Roman
concept that gave us Hitler, and that has brought us to the edge
of the economic abyss today?

I prefer to
follow the example of Gideon who, when offered power in the time
of the Judges, said: "I
will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord
shall rule over you
".

Conclusion

Christians
are to be aliens — in but not of — the world system. But aliens
also should also respect the natives, even if their choices are
wrong. The Gospel does not require, for example, a Christian missionary
to publicly violate every rule in a Muslim country and to publicly
disrespect the people or even their leader. We may be free, but
we don't win hearts and minds by deliberately creating personal
offense.

1
Peter 2
does say that, for the Lord's sake, we should go along
with men's laws. It says we should "honour"
(Greek — value and respect) all men, and uses the same Greek word
to include their rulers. But it and all similar passages also make
clear that the ruler's permitted (rather than ordained) domain does
not exceed the bounds of allowing right and punishing wrong.

If God respected
the people's choice to appoint a King, so should we. Change has
to be voluntary. In the meantime, a limited government within boundaries
is a better than an unlimited tyranny. We can live a "quiet
and peaceable life
" even in the meantime — but not
if we continue to deify the State.

The Gospel
teaches that Christ came to set us free, to "proclaim
liberty to the captives
". Let's wake up and resist
the evil tide that is rising on the earth. The Gospel has turned
the world upside down before; but Christianity has also come into
disrepute when absorbed into the State.

The teaching
of the Kingdom of God is still transforming lives, as many can testify
— but let us not proclaim freedom only on the inside and slavery
on the outside.

Often, the
book of Galatians is used to explain freedom from obsolete regulations
of God's own Old Testament Law. Why then go on to teach servile
submission to and actual support for the innumerable and much worse
laws of modern "secular" governments?

From the beginning,
the State has always been the enemy of the church — by which I mean
all Christians. But just like the devil its master, if the State
can't beat us, it will try to join us. Let us refuse the State's
application for membership in our churches and our lives.

May Christians
teach and preach the Kingdom of God — alone, and to the exclusion
of all others.

November
28, 2009

Paul
Green [send him mail] was
born in the UK and currently works from home there as an independent
emergency callout specialist for home and small business computer
users. He is married with five children – all at home –
and the three of school age are homeschooled. Over the years he
has also traded the financial futures markets and worked as a one-stop
advertising copywriter/ voice-over artist/ music and jingle producer.

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