In the New Testament is recorded the story of Jesus who, while walking with His disciples, came across the sight of a fig tree with leaves. With fig trees, leaves normally indicate that there is ripe fruit also. This promise of fruit caused Jesus to approach the tree for refreshment and nourishment while travelling.
But the tree had no fruit, despite the promising leaves, and this served as an opportunity for Jesus to teach his disciples something many Christians today might think to be un-Christian: He pronounced a curse, and moreover instructed his disciples how to do the same. Beginning right then it died at the roots, and by the next day the fig tree had visibly withered.
Of course, this was not a curse on a human being — even the strong rebukes and warnings Jesus at times issued (mostly to elites and officials) were for the good of the hearers.
But Jesus did use the fig tree, which was on public/common land, to illustrate by example how we should react to the fruitless and useless things in life that promise great things and yet fail to provide any benefit.
A similar example elsewhere in the New Testament, is Jesus' teaching concerning those who spread false ideas that ensnare, enslave and, rather than producing promised beneficial results, produce only destruction and loss.
In times past, ideas and instruction — both practical and spiritual — were mostly disseminated at a local level: Local schools, local churches, local public houses… and local governments through local officials. Centralised institutions, though present, were more distant.
Today with the rise of the regulated mass media, the misuse of communications technology, and with government-controlled education, we have the homogeneous propagation of ideas across whole nations and the world, to an unprecedented degree.
The pervasive force behind the ideas that guide and set the framework for much of the conversation, the outlook, the hopes and aspirations of peoples around the world is the State. Most of the "big ideas" that filter down into the everyday actions of people in these State dominated cultures are from sources approved and/or funded, directly or indirectly, by government.
So let us take a look at this entity, along with its prophets and experts, who promise hope and who terrify people into the idea that without them we are doomed to chaos.
If it is "by their fruits you will know them," then let us examine their "fruits" and whether their promises of hope have really been fulfilled — in order to determine a right response to the experts, their plans and the entity of the State itself. In just a few areas, we'll consider the "leaves" of promise, and then we'll consider the "fruit" produced.
In order to determine the existence of any real "fruit," we will use the words of Jesus as a reference:
Promise: "The State promises you peace and security from external enemies. By pre-emptively attacking other countries and regrettably but necessarily killing as many innocent people as needed, security is assured."
Fruit: Murder on a mass scale, around the world. Current estimates exceed one million dead in Iraq, with one half million even officially acknowledged by the UK government in recent years. Only a few of these were combatants and even of those, some were only defending their own land from invasion.
Theft on a mass scale, that is, unless the State is to be deified and made exempt from moral law. For example, military incursions abroad cost the people of the US at least one trillion dollars per year.
Destruction on a mass scale — both of the economic well being of the militaristic countries (now on the verge of disaster) and of the infrastructure and societies of those attacked.
But is there any benefit for the security of the aggressors? None; except in the speculative fantasy of the aggressors.
Is there any evidence, other than speculation, that angering and provoking populations abroad with monstrous atrocities ensures future safety? It requires more blind faith to believe so, than it does to have a little faith in God and just refuse to murder innocent people for any reason.
Promise: "The State offers you security from danger by enforcement of legislated laws and regulations, above and beyond moral law. To do this it is necessary to create a special class of State agents, who are authorised to use violence and to commit acts that would otherwise be considered crimes."
Fruit: Violence or the threat of violence — including killing if regulations and/or enforcement officers are resisted. Every rule or regulation is ultimately a threat of death and/or destruction if resisted sufficiently. For example, even a morally upright person resisting the most unjust law will be first threatened and then, if they as an innocent person resist the enforcers or use legitimate self defence, they will be killed.
Promise: "The State offers security and plenty for those in need. To do this it is necessary to introduce a high level of taxation, which those who truly care should feel morally obliged to pay, even at the expense of their own families or charitable causes."
Fruit: This is nothing more than organised theft which, in proportion to the degree of taxation, destroys the ability of families not only to provide for their own but also to fulfil the command of Jesus to personally give to the poor. Voluntary charity, a product of compassion, is redefined and undermined by bureaucracy and force. The money is no longer given, but taken by an army of officials backed with the power to destroy businesses, seize property and ultimately use force to kill should a victim attempt to defend their own property.
Despite this known behaviour, supporters claim the poor are helped. But with the same moral authority it can be argued that a poor bank robber will be better off. This is not "social justice" — because covetousness and theft are not social "justice." The plight of the poor is not that they are denied a "right" to someone else's money.
In fact, governments create or massively contribute to poverty by obstructing productivity and liberty; only to then present themselves as saviours with false promises appealing to covetousness, and by claiming false credit for what productivity that they have not yet stifled.
A morally bankrupt and dependant underclass is the result, along with destruction of the primary natural social welfare institution, the family, immediate and extended. Secondary welfare institutions, such as domestic service and church/charitable activity are also taxed, regulated and morally undermined in order to give the State primacy.
Promise: "The government will save you when you are sick; a universal bureaucracy is the best way to see that everyone is offered a high standard of healthcare. Others richer than you will pay."
Fruit: First the government destroys person to person healthcare — the direct and free relationship between a patient and a doctor who competes for patients against other doctors, and who is regulated by the spread of his reputation to all prospective customers. Naturally there are problems, because doctors are human beings, because they try to create guilds and cartels, and the system is never free from the State. Let us say efficiency in a fairly competitive market is 70%.
So, the government attempts to destroy this by legislation, regulation and subsidy. Its paid experts point to the 30% rate of inefficiency and magnify it. The government steps in with regulations which push up prices, and create forced relationships with approved third party corporations and insurance companies. Problems and inefficiencies increase, although the remaining market freedom still produces improvements. So the State claims credit for these improvements and blames the expense and inefficiencies on insufficiently regulated and greedy (but approved) corporations.
Finally the government (secretly backed by a few most favoured mega-corporate suppliers) takes over. The UK healthcare system, for example, is now the biggest bureaucracy in the world outside the communist Chinese State. I do not remember a time when people have been happy with it, or a time when the current government has not promised to fix it (with more government).
Particularly in healthcare, inefficiencies caused by non-competitive, distant and unaccountable bureaucracy mean unnecessary deaths. Over time, that means tens and hundreds of thousands of deaths — on top of terrible medical errors also fostered by inefficiency and unaccountability.
It is clear that on that "tree" we call government or the State — there are many leaves but no fruit. The State can only exist by making false promises — and can only grow by killing, stealing and destroying in order to make room for itself and its allies.
But God has invested His very likeness not in systems of bureaucracy or powerful elites, but in each one of us, as individual human beings. We are therefore to have dominion over our own lives, and not be stifled by hierarchy and bureaucracy or made into the serfs of "wiser" State overlords.
The response of Christians to the many false prophets of the State should be a clear rebuke of their words — yet, not a cursing of their person. But the response to the State apparatus itself — to the evil schemes and oppressive initiatives obscured by deceptive promises — should be even stronger: Curse it. Damn it. Doom it.
Believe me, I can well understand swearing at the TV when you hear another official lie, but that is not what I mean. In fact, I recommend you avoid that — depending how it is said, it can actually be negativity, grumbling, unconscious faith in the power of evil to harm you.
But, for example, recently the British government planned to register, monitor and control homeschoolers — just like paedophiles. My wife and I heard about it well in advance. We agreed in prayer, and cursed it. I hope others did too. Now, I'm not saying our prayer can completely overrule the free will of the British people overall. But as long as we are to spend time in the UK, I believe God will make provision for us.
It looked inevitable, many a "final" official pronouncement was made — yet the scheme was recently dumped. The same went for ID cards — we had doomed that for nearly five years. I can also testify to similar victories in a number of personal "run-ins" with officialdom over the years.
Even the first recorded public prayer meeting of the Christian church in the Book of Acts was along these lines. Read it in Acts 4:24-31:
Local government leaders were exhibiting their usual rotten "fruit," so the church prayed specifically to frustrate the plans of the scheming politicians and rulers — and went on to disobey them openly. I particularly like Psalms 2, the chapter they quoted, because it goes on to say that God Himself actually laughs at and holds these "rulers" in derision. It is an example we should all follow.
So instead of despairing at these dark days, why don't you join those of us who are doing something about it — including spiritually? We can restrain governments because there is only one true Kingdom — the others are all illegitimate and not supposed to be there. As I mentioned in my last article, it's even right there in the Lord's Prayer:
"… deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen."
Paul Green [send him mail] is of British background and supplies computer security and privacy services in the UK and Switzerland – while his wife home-schools their children.