“Our Father, which art in Washington”: on Jesus’s rejection of political power
I frequent The Saker website for analysis that is insightful and frequently intelligently contradicts the mainstream media narrative found on the primary promoted Google News sites and television networks. For example, Saker posted on the recent escalation in Syria that should be required reading for anyone who wants to make sense of recent events and possible dangerous outcomes.
Yet in addition to such political and military analysis, The Saker also posts Orthodox Christian writings that I am unfamiliar with. What caught my attention was this monograph he recently posted, Christ the Savior and the Jewish Revolution, by His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and Galicia (1863-1936), written right after the Bolshevik takeover of Russia. Although focused on the Bolsheviks and providing an interpretation of historical events, this essay is crucial, I believe, to understanding the mentality to this day that both misunderstands and rejects the essential perspective of Jesus in combatting oppressive power. Even if one is not a believer, he should consider reading this work to gain understanding on the reason why Jesus was rejected—certainly by not all, but by so many—and why there was—and is to this day—great hostility to Him, and the consequences that occur when His way is not followed:
Thus, the silence of certain of the evangelists concerning what the fourth [Gospel] makes clear depends upon the Jewish revolution which was coming to ripeness in the Savior’s time, and which was directed by the Sanhedrin. From the Gospel episodes cited above, another truth, unremarked by biblical science, also becomes clear—that the Jewish revolution came into extremely close contact with the earthly life of Christ the Savior and in general defined by itself (of course with the particular permission of God) many of the events of the Gospel; further on we shall see that it was the principal reason for the arousing of the hatred of the people against Christ, which brought Him to be crucified.
I will quote an extensive excerpt that makes clear, in the interpretation of Metropolitan Khrapovitsky, what was the origin of this dissent and hostility against Jesus:
Euripides III: Heracle... Best Price: $2.99 Buy New $1.99 (as of 09:35 EST - Details) The Lord did not answer their question, but reproved them: “Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the food which perisheth, but for that food which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you” (Jn. 6: 27-27). This is not an upbraiding because of gluttony: the day before the people, carried away listening to the words of God, even forgot their daily bread, following Jesus into the wilderness. No, the Lord was displeased because they still had in mind what is earthly, temporal—an uprising against the Romans, military preparations, etc., which would nonetheless end in death, just like the triumphal passing of their forefathers through the desert. [Emphasis added.] “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat of it, and not die” (Jn. 6:49-50). Before these words were spoken, the Jews had not yet lost all hope of persuading Christ to become for them another Moses, a leader, and they asked: “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (Jn. 6: 28), referring to the miraculous leadership of Moses; and they added: “Lord, evermore give us this bread!” (v. 38), for then the success of the uprising would be assured. But Christ’s subsequent words about spiritual bread and life everlasting disenchanted the hotheaded Jews, and many even of His disciples lost their faith in Him (v. 64), “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him” (v. 66). It is apparent that the heart of Judas also departed from Christ at this time, and He said: “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (vv. 71-72). The decisive meaning of this event is demonstrated also by the following verse which commentators do not accord the necessary attention. “After these things, Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk in Judea because the Jews sought to kill Him” (Jn. 7: 1). “After these things”, i.e. after the discourse which took place in Capernaum in Galilee. It is obvious that a report about this was made to rebel headquarters, i.e. the Sanhedrin, just as one was later made about the resurrection of Lazarus (Jn. 11: 46); and there they resolved to part company with the new Prophet Who was summoning the people to a different way of life, just as they had separated themselves from John the Baptist (Mt. 17: 12; Mk. 9: 13) who, when the people asked: What should we do? answered them with instructions of a purely moral character and did not support their chauvinistic aspirations (Lk. 3: 7-8, 11).
How far the clerical, and even popular, enmity directed against the Savior began then to assume an active character is clearly apparent from the further actions and words of Christ. When His brethren called Him to the approaching feast of tabernacles, He spoke to them of the world’s hatred for Him and did not go openly to Jerusalem, but secretly, as it were (Jn. 7: 7, 10); yet when He arrived and excited the people’s reverent astonishment by His teaching, without hesitation, and apparently without immediate cause, He said: “Why go ye about to kill Me?” (Jn. 7: 19). These words were so unexpected that “the people answered and said, Thou hast a demon; who goeth about to kill Thee?” (v. 20). However, as though in confirmation of Christ’s words, very soon “they sought to take Him,” first in the midst of the people (v. 30), and later by the servants of the Pharisees deliberately sent (v. 32); but no one laid a hand on Him (v. 30). The latter expression (Jn. 8:20) has a more important meaning than is apparent at first glance. In another article (“The Kiss of Judas”) we made clear, using the words of the Pentateuch, that it was forbidden by the law of God, by which the Jewish nation was governed, to condemn anyone without responsible informers who, when making an accusation against a man for something, had to lay their hands on his head and, after the death sentence, were required to be the first to cast stones at him (Lev. 24:14; Deut. 17:4-7). This no one undertook to do to the Savior, for false accusation was punished severely by the law: it subjected the informer to the fate he prepared for his victim (Deut. 19:19). Read the story of Susanna and the Two Elders (appended to the Book of Daniel), the account of the woman taken in adultery (Jn. 8), the condemnation of the Archdeacon Stephen and, finally, the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and of the Apostle Paul by the Sanhedrin, and you will see that it was no easy matter for the enemies of justice to circumvent this wise law.
The American Deep Stat... Best Price: $23.25 Buy New $23.06 (as of 09:10 EST - Details) What did the enemies of Christ hope to accomplish in attempting to arrest Him, then? Of course, they were unable to lodge accusations against Him for not wanting to take part in an uprising; therefore they apparently returned to an old one—Christ’s healing of a paralytic on the Sabbath day, although this healing, which was performed in Jerusalem, preceded the miraculous feeding of the five thousand in Galilee, where the Lord went at that time, departing from the capitol unhindered, having delivered a tirade against the Jews because they murmured against the healing. And if after His return from Galilee the Savior was again compelled to justify a healing on the Sabbath, it was of course because that occurrence, as one not performed before witnesses, was probably interpreted by His lying enemies as an ordinary cure and could serve unscrupulous people as an object of accusation of violating the Sabbath rest, which, according to the law of God given through Moses, was punishable by death (Num. 1:33). The Savior always triumphantly refuted attempts to accuse Him of violating the Sabbath, when He performed healings on that day and shamed His accusers while the people approved His words (Lk. 13:17; cf. also 14:4-6). In the present instance, when it became clear that Jesus Christ was not in sympathy with the planned uprising, the malice of the Sanhedrin and the fanatic revolutionaries of Jerusalem reached such a degree that, incapable of concealing the real reason for their bitterness, they again brought up the case of the healing of the paralytic; but the Lord understood well where the actual reason for their enmity lay, and therefore, having spoken twice again concerning the legality of healing of the suffering on the Sabbath (Jn. 7: 22-24), and having vanquished this new attempt on the part of the Pharisees to accuse Him of violating the law in the case of the woman taken in adultery, on the second day after His arrival in Jerusalem He again directed His discourse toward the people of Judea who thirsted for political freedom and told them of that higher, spiritual freedom which He brought to earth by His teaching. [Emphasis added.] On that day, as on the day before, the people wavered between belief and bitterness of heart (Jn. 7: 31, 8:30). The Savior’s sincere speech, His staunch profession of His obedience to the Father Who sent Him: all of this poured the holy faith into the hearts of those who listened to Him, yet they were unable to wrest their hearts from their cherished dream of an uprising against the Romans under the direction of the awaited Messiah, of the extermination of all their enemies and the subjugation of the entire world to themselves, basing such hopes on a faulty interpretation of the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel and other prophecies. Such, and only such, an understanding of the current mood of those who listened to Christ makes clear for us the pertinence and consistency of the words of comfort which the Lord extended to those who believed in Him. His words were these: “If ye continue in My word, then ye are My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32).
This passage and its interpretation make clear what is crucial to understand, something which I’ve raised in other writings: that Jesus sought to change human hearts bringing about the ultimate freedom; resistance by violence is the very antithesis of his central teaching in how human beings are to serve God and to become closer to Him. And so He was rejected by revolutionaries who thought the best way to free themselves from their conquerors was by focusing their hatred and anger and resentment at their oppressors in a violent revolution, perhaps with the ultimate hope that their roles were reversed. Jesus would have none of that yet this does not mean that Jesus thought there were not ways to resist Rome or more correctly, transform it from within.
Indeed, in Scripture we have a powerful example: think of the Roman centurion whose faith in Jesus was unrivaled, a man putatively an enemy of the Jews; he is one of those who has wrongfully conquered and occupied the territory of the Jewish people. And what had God done to this man that transformed him from an enemy to someone who trusts and loves Jesus? As Jon Bloom in his column for Desiring God explains:
The Benedict Option: A... Best Price: $3.77 Buy New $7.20 (as of 09:40 EST - Details) Jesus had walked down from the brow of the low mountain outside of Capernaum, his adopted home (Matthew 4:12-16). He had just delivered what would become the most famous sermon in history.
When he entered the town, he was met by a small delegation of Jewish elders. They had an urgent request. There was this Roman centurion whose servant was so sick that he was expected to die shortly. The centurion had asked these elders to go to Jesus on his behalf to see if Jesus might be willing to heal his servant.
Now, this was very unusual. Jewish leaders were not in the habit of being fond of Roman soldiers.
Feeling the obvious oddness of the request, one of the elders quickly added, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.”
This was also unusual. Roman soldiers were not in the habit of being fond of Jews.
Jesus discerned the Father’s hand in this and so he set off with them to the centurion’s home. He had also just preached a couple hours earlier on the importance of loving one’s enemies. This was something to encourage.
As they neared the house another group of friends intercepted them. There was a brief huddled conference with the elders. There were hushed earnest voices. The elders seemed confused and concerned. Some observers thought the servant must have died.
Then a representative of the intercepting group stepped over to Jesus and said respectfully, “Teacher, I have a message for you from my Roman friend. He says,
King James Bible (KJV) Check Amazon for Pricing. ‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, “Go” and he goes; and to another, “Come,” and he comes; and to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’ ”
Jesus’s expression turned thoughtful. He pondered the words, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof” and “I too am a man under authority with soldiers under me.” He nodded his head slightly and there was just a hint of a chuckle. This man was a Roman soldier, a representative of Israel’s enemy. And yet he understood what even these Jewish elders didn’t yet grasp. It was a marvel.
He looked back at the friend and then to the elders. Then he turned and scanned his eyes over his disciples and the small crowd of people who had followed him down the mountain. Then he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” (Luke 7:9).
Both Luke (Luke 7:9) and Matthew (Matthew 8:10) use the Greek word thaumazo (thou-mad’-zo) which we translate “marveled” or “amazed” to describe Jesus’s response to the centurion’s faith. The only time this word is used to describe Jesus’s response to others’ faith is in Mark 6:6, when he marvels at the lack of faith in the people of Nazareth, where he grew up.
The centurion was one the most unlikely persons to amaze Jesus. He was a Gentile. Doubtless he had a pagan upbringing. He was a Roman, stationed in Palestine to subject the Jews to the Emperor’s rule. He was a man of war. He achieved the rank of centurion by distinguishing himself above others in the brutal Roman martial arts. Not exactly the résumé you’d expect for becoming one of the Bible’s great heroes of faith.
So what in the world had happened to this man? We don’t know. But there he is in Capernaum; a miracle of God’s marvelous grace. And he’s a firstfruit and a foreshadow of what Jesus had come to bring about. He was a living illustration that “many [would] come from the east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11).
And so this possibility, this miraculous outcome is what the elders, many of the people, and the ruling priestly cast didn’t understand in their confrontation with Jesus: the way to stop enemies from being enemies is through the grace of God, by transforming them to friends who no longer see you with hostility and resentment; it is not by hatred and violent revolt, which so often (as history proved for Jerusalem) ends in disaster—destruction, death and defeat—that people will set themselves free and serve God. No, it is by patiently and diligently working to change hardened hearts; it is, as Jesus taught, by “loving your enemies,” which of course is so contradictory to human nature to cause consternation and violent rejection.
I think this perspective is terribly relevant to our present time. As Peter Dale Scott writes in his book, The American Deep State about these two different and opposing mentalities that exist side-by-side in America today:
As authors like Michael Lind have observed, for a long time there have been two prevailing and different political cultures in America, underlying political differences in the American public, and even dividing different sectors of the American government. One culture is predominantly egalitarian and democratic, working for the legal consolidation of human rights both at home and abroad. The other, less recognized but with deep historical roots, prioritizes and teaches the use of repressive violence against both domestic and Third World populations to maintain “order.”
The Bible Knowledge Co... Best Price: $3.99 Buy New $14.99 (as of 09:40 EST - Details) To some extent these two mindsets are found in all societies. They correspond to two different and opposing modes of power and governance that were defined by Hannah Arendt as “persuasion through arguments” versus “coercion by force.” Arendt, following Thucydides, traced these to “the common Greek way of handling domestic affairs, which was persuasion (πείθειν), as well as the common way of handling foreign affairs, which was force and violence (βία).” In another essay, she wrote that “violence and power [i.e., persuasive power] are not the same. . . . Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent.” Arendt’s defense of persuasive power as the norm for an open constitutional society can be contrasted with the defense by Harvard Professor Samuel P. Huntington of top-down, coercive, or dark power as a prerequisite for social cohesion. The coercive power extolled by Huntington was antithetical to that of persuasion and openness: in his words, “Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.” Arendt admired the American Revolution for having created a constitution to ensure the rule of politics by openness and persuasion. Huntington in contrast advised the Botha government of white South Africa on how to set up a powerful state security apparatus outside public control. We can say that Arendt was a theorist of constitutional power, and Huntington, of nonconstitutional power. Power “in the dark” is the essence of what I, borrowing in 2007 a term from Turkey, meant by the deep state: a power not derived from the constitution but outside and above it, “more powerful than the public state.”
Scott, Peter Dale. The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy (War and Peace Library) (Kindle Locations 738-752). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Kindle Edition.
To those observant of recent events there is more than ample evidence that the “Deep State” in Washington governs not from persuasion through argument, as Arendt admired, but by force, a force not always directed against the foreigner but all too often against its own citizens; numerous writings posted on LewRockwell.com in the past and very recently make this clear:
- Sorry We Destroyed Your Country in Error
- The Military Industrial Complex Strikes Again
- America: a Military Nation
- The State of Our Union: A House Divided, Enslaved, & Mired in the Mistakes of the Past
- Merchants of Death
- What Else Will They Learn in the Military?
Consequently, despite Internet buzz about an impending “second American Revolution” that will miraculously restore liberty, a revolution allegedly to be initiated by military personnel within the Deep State close to Trump, to the contrary the further projection of force and military power abroad and at home prove that the Deep State, no matter who had become President—Trump or Clinton—has an agenda that will be, as Jesus has made clear and as history has proven, self-destructive and contrary (to believers) to what God wills for us, which is directly opposite to the power of force: to take actions that heal the rift between Man and God, to become like Him in his unconditional love. This, being something that is not done without great difficulty, sacrifice, moral strength and faith, is not a path most people will take. Yet that does not mean it is not something that must not be sought with all our hearts and all our souls.
The Moody Bible Commen... Best Price: $21.28 Buy New $26.70 (as of 09:40 EST - Details) Therefore, I think it is dangerous to put faith in any person or entity allied to such “powers” as liberators; I am certain there will be no second American revolution without a spiritual rebirth in this nation. Ironically, pagan Greece lacking knowledge of Jesus and his way created such masterworks as The Trojan Women that immortalized the suffering of the victims of Greece’s wars. Has any modern American playwright or novelist written sympathetically to the victims of America’s power projection, to lament and honor the millions dead and displaced? Do novels or plays about The Iraqi Women, The Afghani Women, The Libyan Women, or The Syrian Women exist? To ask the question is to divine the answer: compassion in our nation is not only selective, it’s often mawkishly self-directed and self-centered: candle light vigils for (frequently false flag) victims of the rejection of Christian faith in a post-Christian nation. As Rod Dreher writes in his The Benedict Option, “Over the last decade, I have been writing on and off about the Benedict Option, but it never took off outside a relatively small circle of Christian conservatives. Meanwhile the Millennial generation began to abandon the church in numbers unprecedented in U.S. history. And they almost certainly did not know what they were discarding: new social science research indicated that young adults are almost entirely ignorant of the teachings and practices of the historical Christian faith.” That ignorance includes the core principle of Jesus that I discussed, also the core libertarian principle: the principle of nonaggression. And to the contrary, the very core principle of the state and the ones who are its pinnacle is the very opposite: the power of force.
Therefore, I would direct those who think President Trump, aided by his “faithful” military officers will ride on a white horse to hand us liberty are suffering a delusion, for he is most likely a captive of the ruling ideology of force, as Justin Raimondo makes clear in “A President Held Hostage”:
There’s too much money riding on the continued existence and expansion of our worldwide empire to let Trump ruin their scam. Too many careers are based on it, too much prestige is at stake, too many “allies” are dependent on the largesse it affords them. They’re boxing him in, despite his noninterventionist instincts, and they’re compiling “dossiers,” and they’re mobilizing all their forces for the final assault on the Oval Office.
It is possible Trump did at one time want to oppose and scale back the militaristic, imperial agenda; but recent events prove otherwise, events that are noted in this site’s pages every day. Those who are looking to denizens of Washington for hope, for liberation would be wise to consider the words of the Psalmist :
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
In a time when Christians truly understood Christ, as Jack Sen wrote From Christian Humanitarian and Royal Naval Officer to Venomous Anti-White Terrorist, even citizens of an oppressive empire modeled on Rome used to take actions in accordance with Jesus’s teaching to help the helpless.
Son of Thunder: The Sp... Buy New $12.00 (as of 04:45 EST - Details) Domestically, humanitarians from centuries past — the vast majority of whom were White Anglo Saxon and Protestant — battled the injustices of child labor that arose as a direct result of mass industrialization and the shift from agrarian to manufacturing based economies. They did so by setting up homes for exploited British children and orphanages to protect young people from the industries exploiting them.
Others worked to see that women trafficked into cities to service workers were given equal protection under the law, and that brothels that spread debilitating sexually transmitted infections and exploited desperately destitute women were closed and women were encouraged to quit the sex industry and join reform institutions.
Evangelicals preferred to select their own candidates for admission more directly and often recruited prostitutes through street work, midnight meetings or brothel visiting. The London Female Mission to the Fallen employed eight missionaries, each of whom was responsible for a particular area of London: one missionary was solely responsible for the bridges of London. Late night meetings were held in towns and cities across England….Ellice Hopkins and her supporters were critical of midnight meetings, because the prostitutes who attended were generally drunk or disagreeable, so they went (missionaries) went straight to the brothels during the daytime to recruit.”
Activists operating during the Edwardian and Victorian periods also campaigned to see slavery abolished globally. After relentless parliamentary lobbying from both Christian and secular abolitionists, and within a year of Westminster passing the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, Britain’s Royal Navy took to the high seas separating the New and Old Worlds to eradicate the Transatlantic Slave trade, establishing the West Africa Squadron.
Unfortunately, that selfless Christian spirit does not exist with such power and confidence and prevalance among either the “Never Trumpers” wearing “pussy hats” marching on Washington or the “Always Trumpers” who “support out troops” and rooting for the latest military adventure, who do not feel commonality in the suffering of our “enemies,” be they North Korean, Syrian, Iraqi, Lebanese, or Russian. How many Christian Americans have gone to Iraq and Syria to help some of the oldest Christian communities in the world that were decimated? Sadly, I think the number is too few.
The Cloak of Freya: Th... Buy New $14.00 (as of 04:45 EST - Details) Perhaps in addition to a “Benedict option” there should be a parallel “Libertarian option” of following the writings and authors presented on sites that have proven to be trustworthy, especially on www.LewRockwell.com, to create a virtual community of likeminded lovers of liberty who recognize wielding unbridled force is the great problem of our nation and will bring America’s downfall, who communicate the truth of liberty to those who have ears to hear.
Dreher quoted Father Martin Bernhard, and what he said reflects what I feel in my writing, not just in my novels but in my writing here and any act of creation rooted in goodness; I believe people of faith must keep this in mind:
“Creation gives praise to God. We give praise to God through Creation, through the material world, and into our areas of work. Any time we take something neutral, something material, and we make something out of it for the sake of giving glory to God, it becomes sacramental, it becomes a channel of grace.”
And reading Scripture and commentaries on it are essential, given so much ignorance; so much time is wasted spent pursuing mindless distraction and conflict in entertainment and social media interactions. As Dreher wrote, too many young Americans are ignorant of scripture.
Yet most of all, let us not be deluded into believing the lie that any kind of salvation shall be coming out of “Our father, which art in Washington.”