The Beginnings of Christian Reform (34)

                                 Eschatology (1)

Introduction:

The kind of faith we have governs the whole of our lives, and our total outlook. How we view God and Christ will determine how we view ourselves, our calling, and the end times. Our view of the end, of eschatology, depends to a large measure on our view of the beginning, and of all history, and on our doctrine of God and of salvation. Theology is a seamless garment, and a man’s views of the end times are inseparable from his view on God. If he changes his mind on the one, he changes his mind on the other. [1]

Why Study Eschatology?

“Eschatology…means the study of God’s plan for the future.” [2] It is a subject which the Bible begins to discuss in Genesis (such as Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3 and 49:10), and concludes in Revelation. I am indebted to Kenneth Gentry for the following eight points.[3]

  1. Eschatology is a large part of the Bible. The Old Testament contains an enormous amount of prophecy: in the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel), the Minor Prophets (Hosea through to Malachi), the prophecy of Daniel, many of the Psalms, and many other scattered passages throughout the Pentateuch and elsewhere. In the New Testament many of Christ’s parables are eschatological, and two of His major discourses in Matthew are prophecies (the Kingdom parables in Chapter 13 and the Olivet Discourse in Chapters 24 and 25). Two of Paul’s letters are largely focussed on eschatological issues (I and II Thessalonians), I Corinthians 15 deals with the resurrection, and Revelation in its entirety, is prophetic.
  2. Eschatology embodies the believer’s “blessed hope” (Tit.2:13). This confidence in the future distinguishes us from the unbeliever when we face death (I Thess.4:13), for it is us who have “hope in Christ” (I Cor.15:18-19).
  3. Eschatology is a major foundation stone of the Christian world-view. Christianity presents an outlook on life from creation to consummation. Jesus refers to Himself as “the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev.21:6). Eschatology has always figured high in Christian doctrine, because the ecumenical creeds (such as the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed) contain significant eschatological components.
  4. Israel’s eschatological confusion destroyed her. Despite the Old Testament, they did not recognise Jesus Christ as the fulfilment of prophecy, and thus, “did not receive Him” (Jn.1:11). Israel was judged because she did not recognise the time of her “visitation” (Luke 19:44). Jesus said that His own disciples were “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25).

 

  1. Eschatology is essential for apologetics. Atheistic philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, in misunderstanding Jesus’ eschatological comments, have claimed He was in error. In order to defend the truth, Christians must study and understand it.
  2. Eschatology is important for the integrity of the faith, and for confronting error. Naïve people have often been inclined to believe embarrassing, foolish predictions about the end of the world, based on eschatological errors.
  3. Eschatology is a factor in our Christian growth. Paul encouraged Timothy that “all scripture (including its eschatological portions) is inspired by God, and profitable…so that the man of God may be adequate for every good work” (II Tim.3:16-17). The truth of God’s Word is a central aspect of our sanctification, so that we “may growth in respect to salvation” (I Pet.2:2).
  4. Eschatology provides an important motive for labour. Christian people ought to have a future orientation, whose work reflects a Biblical understanding of the future, based on God’s Word. Shall we complete university studies? What about children? Do we hold a long-term vision for the improvement of society based on the progress of the gospel, or do we settle for the notion that it is all too hard? Correct eschatology motivates us towards long-term changes, being confident that “our labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor.15:58). Jesus’ encouragement was “first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head” (Mk.4:28).

 

B. Revelation:

Students of eschatology realise that the Book of Revelation provides many keys for eschatological understanding. Further to that, it is also critical for its implications for our attitude towards the future.

Revelation gives us man’s victory in Christ over sin and death…we may err in our interpretations of many details, but if we stress the note of victory, we are more right than abler men. The vast and total victory, in time and eternity, set forth by John in Revelation is too important to bypass. [4]

In order to understand the historical significance of Revelation, I have decided to examine an aspect of Revelation 13. A complete examination would require another book. I have appreciated the late David Chilton’s observations here.

The Book of Revelation is a covenant document. It is a prophecy, like the prophecies of the Old Testament. This means that it is not concerned with making “predictions” of astonishing events as such. As prophecy, its focus is redemptive and ethical. Its concern is with the covenant… the Bible is God’s revelation about His covenant with His people. [5]

Unbiblical, unwarranted speculations about the historical application of the Book of Revelation, have left many Christians confused. Ill-advised speculations that the book was written with a view to predicting the future of specific individuals or nations thousands of years later, have robbed the book of its true meaning and significance. But the internal evidence from Revelation is overwhelming, if we bear in mind John’s initial warning to his readers, that “the time is near” (Rev.1:3). He was speaking to the believers of his own generation of events that would directly affect them.

What is clear, is that “the period spoken of in the Bible as ‘the last days’ (or ‘last times’ or ‘last hour’) is the period between Christ’s birth and the destruction of Jerusalem [in AD70]. The early church was living at the end of the old age and the beginning of the new.” [6] The destruction of Jerusalem was what Daniel spoke of, when he referred to a “time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time…” (Dan.12:1). Jesus referred to this, when He spoke of “a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will” (Mat.24:21).

Revelation 13:

Prov.28:14 says, “Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.” Evil, predatory, destructive governments are pictured in the Bible as predatory animals (see Joel 1:6). This is helpful in understanding Revelation 13. The initial Biblical description of the kingdoms of Revelation 13 is in Dan.2:31-35, but their ethical characteristics are not identified until Dan.7:1-7. The Roman Empire which ruled Israel in the first century, and participated in the execution of our Lord (Jn.19:13-16), is the “fourth beast” of Daniel 7:7, and is the beast of Revelation.

This Beast, however, is not just an institution, but a person; specifically… the Emperor Nero. How could this symbol have referred to both the Empire and the Emperor? Because, in a sense (particularly the way the Bible looks at things), the two could be considered as one. Rome was identified with its leader; the Empire was embodied in Nero.

Thus the Bible can shift back and forth between them, or consider them both together, under the same designation. And both Nero and the Empire were sunk in degrading, degenerate, bestial activities. Nero, who murdered numerous members of his own family (including his pregnant wife, whom he kicked to death); who was a homosexual, the final stage in degeneracy (Rom. 1:24-32); whose favorite aphrodisiac consisted of watching people suffer the most horrifying and disgusting tortures; who dressed up as a wild beast in order to attack and rape male and female prisoners; who used the bodies of Christians burning at the stake as the original “Roman candles” to light up his filthy garden parties; who launched the first imperial persecution of Christians at the instigation of the Jews, in order to destroy the Church.

This animalistic pervert was the ruler of the most powerful empire on earth. And he set the tone for his subjects. Rome was the moral sewer of the world.[7]

Revelation tells us much about “the beast.”

  1. John saw him “coming up out of the sea” (Rev.13:1). Clearly, the Roman Empire did seem to arise out of the sea, from the Italian peninsula across the Meditteranean Sea. But John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is utilising the Biblical symbolism of the sea.

After the Fall, the picture of the raging deep is used and developed in Scripture as a symbol of the world in chaos through the rebellion of men and nations against God: “The wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud” (Isa. 57:20; cf. 17:12). Thus John is told later that “the waters which you saw … are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (Rev. 17:15). Out of this chaotic, rebellious mass of humanity emerged Rome, an entire empire founded on the premise of opposition to God.[8]

  1. John saw that the Beast had “ten horns and seven heads” (Rev. 13:1), in the image of the Dragon (12:3), who gives the Beast “his power and his throne and great authority” (13:2). The ten horns (powers) of the Beast are explained in Revelation 17:12 in terms of the governors of the ten imperial provinces, while the seven heads are explained as the line of the Caesars (17:9-11): Nero is one of the “heads.”[9]

 

  1. Rome is the one city in history that has been distinguished by and recognized for its seven mountains, spoken of in Rev.17:9. As Kenneth Gentry points out,

the famous seven hills of Rome are the Palatine, Aventine, Caelian, Esquiline, Virninal, Quirinal, and Capitoline hills. The Roman writers Suetonius and Plutarch make reference to the first century festival in Rome called Septimontium, i.e. the feast of “the seven hilled city.” Archaeologists have discovered the Coin of Vespasian (emperor A.D. 69-79) picturing the goddess Roma as a woman seated on seven hills.  The seven hills are mentioned by such Christian writers as Tertullian and Jerome, as well as in several of the Sibylline Oracles. This fact- that Rome was universally recognized as the city on seven hills- is widely recognized by evangelical commentators as having a bearing upon our passage.

The reference is virtually beyond doubt that Rome is alluded to in this vision of the seven-headed beast. By everyone’s dating, Revelation was written sometime during the period of the Roman Empire. Furthermore, both secular and ecclesiastical history record that the first imperial persecution of Christianity was begun in the seven-hilled city, Rome, by the emperor Nero Caesar in A.D. 64.[10]

  1. On the beast’s heads were “blasphemous names” (v.1). The Caesars were gods in their nation and culture.

Each emperor was called Augustus or Sebastos, meaning “One to be worshipped”; they also took on the name divus (god) and even Deus and Theos (God). Many temples were erected to them throughout the Empire, especially, as we have seen, in Asia Minor. The Roman Caesars received honor belonging only to the one true God; Nero commanded absolute obedience, and even had an image of himself built, 120 feet high. For this reason Paul called Caesar “the man of sin;” he was, Paul said, “the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God”(II Thess. 2:3-4).[11]

  1. John writes that “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed” (v.3). The image of a head wound to a beast should remind us of Genesis 3:15, where God promised the serpent that “He [Jesus] shall bruise you on the head…”

Even though Daniel had prophesied that Christ’s kingdom would crush the Satanic empires and destroy them (Dan.2:44), and Jesus clearly said from the cross that “it is finished” (Jn.19:30), the Satanically motivated beast (personified in Nero, and represented in the Roman Empire) which had received the head-wound still lived.

Why? Because the cross established Christ’s victory legally; it now had to be worked out progressively through His saints, in human history. The Bible teaches us that “we do not yet see all things subjected to Him” (Heb.2:8b). “The reality, of course, was that Christ had defeated the Dragon and the Beast; but the implications of His victory still had to be worked out; the saints had yet to overcome, and take possession (Dan. 7:21-22; Rev. 12:11).”[12]

  1. “The whole Land was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshipped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war against him?’ ” (Rev.13:3b-4)

Almost every translator of these verses utilises the English word “world” for the Greek word ge, (used only once in the New Testament). But Young’s Concordance points out that this word means “land” or “earth.”

John is not speaking of the world following the beast; the word he uses here should be translated Land, meaning Israel. We know this because the context identifies his worshippers as those who dwell on the Land (Rev. 13:8, 12, 14)-a technical phrase used several times in Revelation to denote apostate Israel… it is Israel in particular which is condemned for Emperor-worship. Faced with a choice between Christ and Caesar, they had proclaimed: We have no king but Caesar! (Jn.19:15). Their reaction to Caesar’s apparently victorious war against the Church (Rev. 11:7) was awe and worship. Israel sided with Caesar and the Empire against Christ and the Church. Ultimately, therefore, they were worshipping the Dragon, and for this reason Jesus Himself called their worship assemblies synagogues of Satan (Rev.2:9; 3:9). [13]

  1. The beast was given “authority to act for forty-two months (v.5), and “to make war with the saints and overcome them” (v.7).

The period of 42 months (three-and-one-half years – a broken seven) is a symbolic figure in prophetic language, signifying a time of sadness, when the enemies of God are in power, or when judgment is being poured out (taken from the period of drought between Elijah’s first appearance and the defeat of Baal on Mount Carmel). Its prophetic usage is not primarily literal, although it is interesting that Nero’s persecution of the Church did in fact last a full 42 months, from the middle of November 64 to the beginning of June 68. [14]

  1. The apostle John positively identifies the Beast. “Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty six” (v.18). Numbers in the Bible are significant.

Solomon (a Biblical type of both Christ and the Beast) received 666 talents of gold in one year, at the height of his power and glory (I Kings 10:14; 2 Chron.9:13). That number marks both the high point of his reign and the beginning of his downfall; from then on, everything goes downhill into apostasy. One by one, Solomon breaks the three laws of godly kingship recorded in Deuteronomy 17:16-17: against multiplying gold (I Kings 10:14-25), against multiplying horses (I Kings 10:26-29), and against multiplying wives (I Kings 11:1-8). For the Hebrews, 666 was a fearful sign of apostasy, the mark of both a king and a State in the Dragon’s image.

The second point to consider about the number 666 is this. In both Greek and Hebrew, each letter of the alphabet is also a numeral (see the table of numerals at the end of this chapter). Thus, the “number” of anyone’s name could be computed by simply adding up the numerical value of its letters. Clearly, John expected that his contemporary readers were capable of using this method to discover the Beast’s name-thus indicating, again, the contemporary message of Revelation…the unexpected element in the computation was that it had to be worked out in Hebrew, a language which at least some of the members of the churches would know…

It is significant that all early Christian writers, even those who did not understand Hebrew and were therefore confused by the number 666, connected the Roman Empire, and especially Nero, with the Beast. There should be no reasonable doubt about this. John was writing to first-century Christians, warning them of things that were “shortly” to take place. They were engaged in the most crucial battle of history, against the Dragon and the evil Empire which he possessed. The purpose of the Revelation was to comfort the Church with the assurance that God was in control, so that even the awesome might of the Dragon and the Beast would not stand before the armies of Jesus Christ.[15]

 

 [1] Rousas Rushdoony, “God’s Plan for Victory,” 1980, p.3.

 [2] Andrew Sandlin, “A Postmillenial Primer,” 1997, p.3.

 [3] Kenneth Gentry (Ed.), “Thine is the Kingdom,” 2003, p.ii-vii.

[4] Rousas Rushdoony, “Thy Kingdom Come,” 2001, p.1.

[5] David Chilton, “Paradise Restored,” 1999, p.175.

[6] Chilton, p.115.

[7] Chilton, p.176.

[8] ibid., p.177.

[9] Chilton, p.177.

[10] Gentry, K., “The Beast of Revelation,” 1994, p.13.

[11] Chilton, p.177.

[12] ibid.,p.178.

[13] Chilton, p.179.

[14] Chilton, p.179.

[15] Chilton, ibid., p.180-181.

Cultural Marxism’s Long Ideological History Had One Major Goal

By Gary DeMar (American vision. org), May 2, 2019

Near the mid-point of the 21st century, writing in the Introduction to Carl Henry’s The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, Harold J. Ockenga wrote the following: “A Christian world- and life-view embracing world questions, societal needs, personal education ought to arise out of Matt. 28:18–20 as much as evangelism does. Culture depends on such a view, and Fundamentalism is prodigally dissipating [wastefully spending] the Christian culture accretion [buildup] of centuries, a serious sin. A sorry answer lies in the abandonment of societal fields to the secularist.”1

The controversy over the role that religion plays in culture and politics is an old one. Jesus was accused of subverting the political order by “misleading [the] nation and forbidding [people] to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King” (Luke 23:2). Christians were accused of promoting the idea that there was “another king, Jesus” (Acts 17:7).

The designation of Jesus as “Lord” had significant political implications in the Roman Empire since the Emperor held the title of Dominus et Deus, “Lord and God.” Rome permitted and promoted religious diversity, just like today’s liberals, but it did not allow religious competition with the State, just like today’s liberals.

For more than 50 years, from the Scopes Trial in 1925 to the presidential candidacy of Jimmy “Born Again” Carter in 1976, conservative Christians did not develop a discernable social or political philosophy.2 The secularists took advantage of the indifference and moved the country in a decidedly anti-Christian direction. The major institutions were captured—courts, schools, seminaries—and turned into secular advocacy groups churning out disciples for the humanist agenda. As Christians observed this happening, they concluded that (1) they are just pilgrims passing through, (2) Jesus is going to rescue them through a rapture, (3) and it’s the Christian’s lot in life to be persecuted for Jesus.

Those pushing for an overthrow of the establishment in the 1960s learned a lot when their radical and often times violent agenda failed to accomplish their stated goals and turned the majority of the population against them. In his Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky (1909–1972) understood the futility of their tactics and suggested a different path:

“Power comes out of the barrel of a gun!” is an absurd rallying cry when the other side has all the guns. Lenin was a pragmatist; when he returned . . . from exile, he said that the Bolsheviks stood for getting power through the ballot but would reconsider after they got the guns. Militant mouthings? Spouting quotes from Mao, Castro, and Che Guevara, which are as germane to our highly technological, computerized, cybernetic, nuclear-powered, mass media society as a stagecoach on a jet runway at Kennedy airport?”

The radicals knew it would be necessary to capture the institutions without ever firing a shot or blowing up another building. Roger Kimball captures the tactic well in his book The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America: “The long march through the institutions signified in the words of [Herbert] Marcuse, ‘working against the established institutions while working in them’. By this means—by insinuation and infiltration rather than by confrontation—the counter-cultural dreams of radicals like Marcuse have triumphed.”3

Pat Buchanan described the tactic is a similar way. To change the culture, Gramsci argued, “would require a ‘long march through the institutions’—the arts, cinema, theater, schools, colleges, seminaries, newspapers, magazines, and the new electronic medium [of the time], radio.”4

The Left learned this from what took place in the 1960s when their radical political agenda failed to accomplish its stated goals. Their radical agenda was shot down politically because the majority of Americans still retained a remnant of the older Christian worldview. The Left knew it would be necessary to capture those institutions that shape and mould children who would one day become cultural leaders. Once the heart and mind are captured, everything else follows, including politics. This is a major tactical manoeuver that most on the Right did not understand.

Antonio Gramsci’s philosophy for cultural and social change was the model for the new Leftists. Gramsci (1891–1937) considered Christianity to be the “force binding all the classes—peasants and workers and princes, priests and popes and all the rest besides, into a single, homogeneous culture. It was specifically Christian culture, in which individual men and women understood that the most important things about human life transcend the material conditions in which they lived out their mortal lives.”5  Gramsci broke with Marx and Lenin’s belief that the masses would rise up and overthrow the ruling “superstructure.” No matter how oppressed the working classes might be, their Christian faith would not allow such an overthrow, Gramsci theorized. Marxists taught “that everything valuable in life was within mankind.”6

The Beginnings of Christian Reform (33)

Reforming Government (3)

  1. God Judges the Nations-Judges need Jurisdiction:

The fourth part of a Biblical covenant, is a list if judgments that will be imposed by God, who blesses man for obedience and curses man for disobedience.

Judgment has been a component of God’s dealings with man, since Genesis 3. After Adam and Eve’s fall, God came into the garden, conducted a trial, cross-examined the witnesses, then gave His judgment. His procedure was the same with Cain (Genesis 4) and with Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19).

When Abraham interceded with God concerning Lot, Abraham referred to Him as “the judge of all the earth” (Gen.18:25). All nations are subject to His law, and His law is for all nations.

Christians have often in the modern era failed to understand the notion of collective responsibility. Interpreting the Bible personally, we have failed to apply God’s law to society, and to recognise that God blesses and curses nations. This has been a serious mistake, for God’s law is both for individuals and groups; families, communities and nations. The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps.33:12).

This was continued in the New Testament era. Daniel prophesied about the destruction of  kingdoms hundreds of years before Christ (Dan.2:25-45), but his prophecy was not fulfilled until three centuries after Christ, in the destruction of the Roman Empire.

The Bible teaches us, that

the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward (Ps.19:9-11).

Because we are made in the image of God, we are responsible to execute judgment. Paul instructed the Corinthians, saying “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?” (I Cor.6:2-3).

Judgment applies to all facets of human endeavour, but especially to the Biblically ordained institutions of family, church and State. When Jehoshaphat initiated reforms in Judah, part of his task was to ensure that civil judgment was once again according to God’s law (II Chron.19: 4-11).

One of the first things we must consider in relation to judgment, is jurisdiction. The human heart has a great capacity for sin: “we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). Their failure to respect jurisdictions led to Miriam (Nu.12) and Uzziah (II Chron.26:16-21) being smitten by God with leprosy. They had assumed a role that was not theirs, and thus were judged.

The Bible establishes multiple covenantal jurisdictions: family, church and State. Each has a specific limited jurisdiction where a limited amount of authority and power operate. While the jurisdictions may differ, the same law is to be used for each. While the standard for each is the Bible, the application of Scripture differs as an individual moves from one jurisdiction to another. For example, a father has authority to discipline his own child for an infraction, but he cannot discipline another parent’s child. Parental authority and power operate within this specific family jurisdiction. This is the same in the context of the church, and the State (R. N., p.135).

The Bible portrays church and State as cooperating governments. Most people are aware that the Bible is the standard for the priests as they carry out their priestly duties, but the king too,  was subject to God’s law. God gave him specific directions in terms of how he was to discharge his duties (Deut.17:18-20). Thus we can see that the jurisdictions of church and State are separate, but religion is not. Both priests and kings are commanded to follow the same standard of government, even though not all laws apply to each in the same way. The jurisdictions were parallel, but separate (R. N., p.139).

This was common in the life of Israel. Moses was the chief judicial officer, assisted by numerous lesser magistrates, whilst Aaron served as the High Priest, assisted by numerous lesser priests (Lev.8). King David worked with the priest Abiathar, and Solomon with Zadok. After the exile, Nehemiah and Ezra continued this form of partnership.

Because of sin, the lack of self-restraint and the attractions of power, men are prone to jurisdictional usurpation. Political leaders have attempted to subvert the church for their own ends, such as when Jeroboam established an apostate religious base in Bethel and Dan, because of his political apprehensions (I Kings 12:26-33). King Saul killed Ahimelech out of fear that he was treacherously assisting Saul’s rival, David (I Sam.22:11-19). Knowing the power of the church in the community, political leaders in history have found various ways to manipulate, corrupt and silence the church.[1]

Conversely, there have been many times when the church has forgotten its ministry and gotten involved in political power struggles. Having lost faith in God, and in His transforming power from the inside out, the church can easily become seduced by trusting in human action, as though man’s salvation could come through political power (R. N., p.141).

Family, church and State must cooperate, not compete. Their responsibilities and jurisdictions of judgment are to run parallel in the community, but all must be Biblically informed and governed, if they wish to please God. The church is the protector of the family, and its weapons are the sacraments (baptism and communion), preaching and prayer (including the imprecatory prayers, such as Ps. 83:13-17; 109:6-20). The Bible establishes the jurisdictional limits for each institution, providing institutional harmony in every community and nation. In this way, “judgment will again be righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it” (Ps.94:15).

  1. Call No Man Your Father-Rebuilding Takes Time:

The fifth part of a Biblical covenant, is program of inheritance– a lawful transition that mortal men need in order to extend their dominion over creation.

The future for man when he thinks the State is his Saviour, is slavery. This is what most of the world began to discover in the twentieth century, but it has not yet led to people wanting to throw off their chains. Just as the children of Israel under Moses had an almost perennial tendency to want to return to Egypt when their circumstances displeased them, sinful man has perennially turned to the State for his problems. Even when the memory of Egypt had faded by the time of Samuel, they still wanted a king. Samuel’s warnings about what this king would be like, had no effect. Why? Because the children of Israel had a problem; their own hearts. So, God gave them the king they wanted, and they faced the consequences of their foolish choice, for forty years.

Samuel described what this new form of government would be like, in I Samuel 8.

  1. a) The king would raise an army for his purpose in opposition to the law (Deut.17:16). War would become a way of life in Israel (v.5), and the king would use this army for personal profit (v.12).
  2. b) The young women of Israel would be subject to the whims and fancies of the king (v.13).
  3. c) Private property would no longer be safe, but would be used to pay for the king’s political favours (v.14).
  4. d) This king would require a tenth in taxation. This was a sign of tyranny, for only God could demand a tenth (v.15).

Israel had turned from their God as their Saviour, Lord and Provider, who had brought them out of Egypt. They no longer wanted to physically return to Egypt, but they were turning to the false security offered to them by a civil government that would subject them to slavery in the name of security (R. N., p.74-75).

This scenario has been played out in history, innumerable times; the twentieth century showed this happening all over the world, both in totalitarian and democratic countries. It is evident that

socialism has demonstrated its ability to destroy, but not to create. Being itself immoral, it creates immoral people, or rather, it is first created by an immoral people who are then confirmed and increased in their immorality by the socialist state.[2]

What is the Role of the State?

The Bible teaches that the State is “a minister of God to you for good” (Ro.13:4). Biblically, the State does have the powers of coercion: “it does not bear the sword for nothing.”

  1. a) Civil Justice: Civil government should operate judicial systems on the local state and federal level. The law of God, as outlined in scripture, is to be the standard of justice. This clearly includes capital punishment. An accused person should be able to appeal to a higher court, if he feels that justice has not been done.
  2. b) Weights and measures: Just weights and measures must be maintained; even owning false weights is prohibited in scripture (Deut.25:13-16). This includes false and misleading advertising, and extends to such things as debasing a currency. “Your silver has become dross, your drink diluted with water” (Isa.1:22).
  3. c) Defending Christianity from public attack: the State cannot be neutral towards the Christian faith. Any obstacle that would jeopardise the preaching of the Word of God and carrying out the Great Commission must be removed by civil government. Paul expected even the Roman civil government to protect him from those who threatened the Christian religion. No government is religiously neutral; if it were, it would enact no laws, for all laws are religious.
  4. d) National defence: Government is responsible to defend the nation against aggressors. In wartime, this would include the marshalling and organisation of troops. It does not mean the state is responsible to ensure there are professional, standing armed forces. The concept of a civilian militia force able to be called upon for defence or police activities, prohibits the use of soldiers for international aggressive activities, and means that soldiers cannot be used by their government against their own citizens.[3]
  5. e) Quarantine: The power to quarantine is the power to protect innocent life. Any community needs to be protected against infectious diseases. Thus the State must have legislative powers to deal with these things.
  6. f) Defending private property: Private property means an opportunity for liberty, dominion, security, and the passing on of an inheritance, and is to be protected. Ahab’s plot to murder Naboth with a view to confiscating his vineyard, brought he and Jezebel under God’s judgment for murder and theft (I Kings 21; II Kings 9:29-37). Confiscation by State power is never legitimate.

Individuals must be prepared to assist in apprehending criminals, even to the point of killing a person if necessary, who threatens life (Ex.22:2-3).

God has not seen fit to legislate exactly what should go for the financing of the state. He has seen fit, however, to demand a tithe for the financing of the Church. In those times of history when the tithe is given properly and the Church does her work with integrity, the state will greatly shrink in size and will require only a minimum in taxation. On the other hand, in those seasons of history, like our own, when the people refuse to tithe, and the Church is not faithfully proclaiming and educating in the Word of God, then the state will grow to massive size, and will exact a terrible tribute. The reformation of the state, then, awaits the reformation of the Church and the proper use of the tithe.[4]

The State is not called on to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. It is not our Father. State welfare is not in the Bible. It must stop interfering in the operations of the free market, with minimum wage laws and awards, compulsory, tax-payer funded education, by phasing out Social Security, and reducing taxation at all levels. All of these measures pre-suppose the active involvement of the Christian community in initiating care in the community, along Biblical lines, because you can’t replace something with nothing.[5]

Towards the future:                                                                                    

Civilisations come and go, but the kingdom of God goes on forever. Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan.2) showed that kingdoms built on the shaky foundation of the sovereignty of man cannot last. The history books show that every empire-building civilisation collapses in time. Christians in understanding this, must begin to prepare for the future, even if they do not see the fulfilment of what they are commencing in their lifetime. God tells His people that their earthly efforts have meaning in time and eternity.

Socialism is finished: it is destroying itself, and although the worst lies ahead, the certainty of socialism’s collapse is nonetheless inescapable, and it must be a basic premise of all thinking concerning the future. The central concern even now must be reconstruction, the creation of new institutions dedicated to liberty, education to that end, and the assurance that the fresh air of liberty is ahead, past the days of chaos.[6]

Conclusion:                                                                                                

Christians must believe and preach the whole counsel of God concerning government. We need a full-orbed gospel that offers comprehensive salvation. We need healing-not just spiritual and physical, but cultural healing. We need the doctrine of the resurrection-the resurrection, restoration and reconstruction of every area of life, to the glory of God. We need to subdue the earth (Gen.1:26-28) to the glory of God. We need to fulfil the Great Commission: the discipling of the nations (R. N., p.157).

Politics is simply the organized activity of those who are exercising legal and economic power as citizens of the nations. Since the Lord has given us the task of holding ‘dominion . . . over all the earth” (Genesis 1:26), we are not taking up our assisted role as stewards if we refuse to become involved in the activities of governing.  I further point out: How can we disciple the earth if we are not involved in running it? [7]

Unbelief and its first cousin, pessimism, have always robbed the church of its vitality, since the days that the ten spies viewed the giants in the promised land (Nu.13:25-33). As the inhabitants of the land were clearly afraid and could be defeated, so they can and will be defeated in history. But this requires capital in the broadest sense to be built up.

God requires us to work confidently for the victory He wishes to give us, which has already been won on the cross. Every Christian must apply themselves to the long-term task at hand, “not despising the day of small things” (Zech.4:10), knowing that “…your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor.15:58). Psalm 110 clearly teaches us that Jesus will stay at the right hand of His Father, until all His enemies are made His footstool, and that is the task of His people, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are the inheritors: what have we been waiting for?

[1] This conflict escalates when political leaders have refused to view themselves as being subject to God’s law.    Examples from the twentieth century are numerous.

[2] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.70.

[3] In Exodus 18:21, we have elders over 10s, 50s, 100s, and 1,000s. Why not over 500s and 5,000s? The reason is that these elders would also have been commanders in the Israelite militia. Israel did not have a professional army until the time of the kings, and so the ordinary elders would have doubled as military leaders in times of distress.”

[4] James Jordan, “The Law of the Covenant,” 1984, p.239.

[5] See Andrew McColl, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009, ch.8.

[6] Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.641-644.

[7] Gary North, “Liberating Planet Earth,” 1987, p.25.

 

 

British Columbia Supreme Court Muzzles Father on Gender of Daughter

By Michael Rozeff (www.lewrockwell.com), May 1st, 2019

The states that are the foremost bearers of Western civilization are increasing their use of force in moral matters that traditionally, rationally and morally are and should be beyond any state’s powers. By doing this, Western states are becoming more totalitarian. The results are horrifying, horrendous and shocking. The leaders of Western civilization are destroying Western civilization.

These new and enhanced intrusions are actually part of a deeper longstanding trend of greater state initiation of force. That major trend includes both major parties in America. It’s manifested in domestic socialist legislation and in foreign aggression, such as in the attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The newer cultural, personal, family, religious and moral intrusions are becoming more and more noticeable and outrageous. They are profoundly stupid and destructive, but they are ongoing nonetheless. The tide against them has not turned yet.

British Columbia in Canada has a Family Law Act that empowers the court to intrude in a family in order to “protect the safety and security of the at-risk family member…” The law allows the court to assess risks very broadly in order to effect such protection.

This might be reasonable if a father were threatening his daughter with a knife or pistol, but what if the father insists on calling his daughter “she” rather than the pronoun “he” that the girl prefers? What if the father tries to persuade “Maxine” to abandon the hormone treatments she thinks will make her “Max”? What if the father gives interviews in which he refers to her as Maxine and argues against the ill-effects of ingesting gender-related hormones? What if the court decides that all of these actions place Maxine at “a significant risk of harm”?

These what-ifs (not the knife or pistol) have happened in neighboring British Columbia. Its Supreme Court has decided that using pronouns, using persuasion, providing information and speaking to media make a father guilty under this law. The court has muzzled him.

The trend in Western law is to turn personal matters, personal moral matters, non-violent matters, emotional matters (like purported hate), non-physical matters and communications matters into supposed crimes with perpetrators and victims. This is similar to jihadists thinking that a Christian church doing them no harm is an enemy, or a cartoonist making fun of their God is an enemy, and that they have a right to kill in order to stop such “insults” and “invasions”. This is similar to students rioting against particular speakers on campus because they consider their words “violent” or “insulting”. This is similar to laws that intrude upon labor relations and laws that demand hiring and promotion be along racial or sexual lines. This is similar to laws against hate speech. This is similar to laws and practices that demand diversity, meaning preferences of one sort or another and disregard of standards and qualifications that matter for job performance.

The wisdom of Ayn Rand in Galt’s speech and later Murray Rothbard stands higher and higher, for they clearly distinguished between the initiation of physical force and what one may rightly say or do.

“Be it a highwayman who confronts a traveler with the ultimatum: ‘Your money or your life,’ or a politician who confronts a country with the ultimatum: ‘Your children’s education or your life,’ the meaning of that ultimatum is: ‘Your mind or your life’—and neither is possible to man without the other.”

Western law is becoming more and more the highwayman, the initiator of physical violence. “Your children’s gender or your life” is indeed “Your mind or your life”. The state cannot intrude beyond controlling the initiation of physical force and into the moral territory of religion, speech, family, and persons without destroying its own basis and civilization; and yet this is exactly what it is doing.

Don’t Mess with the Swiss

By Eric Margolis (www.lewrockwell.com), 22th June, 2019

Morgarten, Switzerland – Here, in 1315, a force of Swiss mountaineers ambushed an invading force of Austrian feudal knights who had come to reassert Hapsburg feudal rule over the rebellious Swiss.

The burly Swiss farmers and woodsmen from the forest cantons Unterwalden, Uri and Schwytz fell upon the close-packed Austrian knights and men-at-arms, using long pikes or deadly pole axes known as halbards, and massacred them without quarter.

Two years later, a second Austrian expeditionary force was caught by the Swiss peasant infantry near Lucerne at Sempach and crushed. These fierce battles were the first time in modern history that foot soldiers had withstood heavily armored mounted knights.  These epochal encounters marked the beginning of the end of European feudalism and the rise of infantry armies.  They also freed Switzerland’s forest cantons of Austrian rule, creating Europe’s first independent democratic state, the Swiss Confederation.

The always astute Machiavelli said of the Swiss warriors: ‘Most heavily armed, most free.’ Indeed, most free to this day.

Those who think of Switzerland as a quaint land of cuckoo clocks and chocolate are sorely mistaken.  To paraphrase Voltaire’s bon mot about Prussia, Switzerland is a giant fortress, disguised as a country.

I attended school and university in Switzerland.  Over the decades, I kept hearing about mountains opening up to disgorge warplanes, or cliffs studded with hidden artillery.  But even my Swiss friends didn’t know much about these seemingly fantastic sightings.

Fifteen years ago, I was the guest of the Swiss Fortress Guard Corps, a top-secret military outfit that operates Switzerland’s mountain fortresses.  I was one of the first non-Swiss to be shown the mountain forts that guard the heart of the nation’s ‘Alpine Redoubt.’  What I was shown astounded me – and continues to do so.

In the late 1930’s, as one European nation after another bowed down to Hitler’s demands, the Swiss military and its popular rifle clubs, banded together and decided their nation would not bend the knee as the Czechs, Dutch, Norwegians, Belgians, and then the French had done.

A feverish program of fortress construction was begun across the Alps.  Some 900,000 troops were mobilized. Orders went out from Gen. Henri Guisan: ‘leave your families behind in the lowlands.  Man our mountain forts.  We have no place or food for civilians in them. Fight to your last cartridge; then use your bayonets. No surrender!’

Every road and bridge was mined; all mountain passes were rigged with explosives. Particularly so the rail lines and tunnels that linked Germany to its erstwhile ally, Italy.

Hitler was furious.  He denounced the Swiss as ‘insolent herdsmen.’  Mussolini, Hitler’s ally, rightfully feared tangling with the tough Swiss mountaineers who had ravaged Italy during the Renaissance.  The Pope’s Swiss Guards are a momento of the era of ‘Furia Helvetica.’

Working 24/7, Swiss engineers created a warren of tunnels and gun positions guarding the main entry points into Switzerland at St. Maurice, Gothard, Thun and Sargans.  These forts were equipped with 75, 105 and 150mm cannons, machine guns and mortars emplaced in mountain sides and camouflaged so they are almost invisible.

Inside the forts are barracks, engine rooms, headquarters, clinics, observation posts and magazines filled with shells.  The hidden forts interlock their fire and support one another.  Unlike the less heavily gunned Maginot Line, each fort was protected by a special infantry unit on the outside, linked by telephone to the underground garrison.

In addition, Switzerland built bomb shelters for most of its people.

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The Swiss only began decommissioning their forts in the 1990’s – after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Switzerland was a prime target of the Soviet Red Army.  Advancing from Czechoslovakia, the Soviets planned to race across lightly defended Austria into eastern Switzerland.

Then, into the Swiss lowlands on a Basel-Neuchatel-Lausanne axis to Geneva.  From there, the Group of Soviet Forces powerful armored divisions would erupt into France’s Rhone Valley and drive north for the Channel ports, taking US and NATO forces in the rear and cutting their supply lines.  It would have been a replay of Germany’s brilliant Ardennes offensive in 1940.

But Swiss forts and solid Swiss citizen troops stood in the way.  The sons of the heroes of Sempach and Morgarten were on guard.

When Swiss mountaineers vote, they always carry rifles and swords as a symbol of how their freedom was attained and preserved.

The Beginnings of Christian Reform (39) – Reforming Government (2)

II. A Bottom Up Hierarchy-We Must Render Appropriate Service:

The second point of a Biblical covenant structure, is the establishment of a hierarchy to enforce God’s authority on earth. Even before the giving of the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, Moses’ father-in-law (Jethro) challenged Moses to begin the process of delegation of his authority:

Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. Let them judge the people at all times: and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace (Ex.18:19-23).

What was Jethro really saying? “You are not God; you need help. Acknowledge your weaknesses and limitations, share in the authority of being a judge, and you will not wear out these people, nor will they wear you out…that is the way of destruction.” (R. N., p.28).

Political decentralisation means that no single institution has been established by God to bring about social justice. Freedom and order are realised when men throughout a society strive to follow the blueprint God has given for the reconstruction of all family, ecclesiastical, social and political institutions (R. N., p.30). There is no freedom without the government of God, which will always be hierarchical.

Government Under God:

Christians need to understand jurisdictional diversity. Romans 13:1 instructs us to subject ourselves “to the governing authorities,” each of which is “established by God.No single earthly authority is to have our total allegiance, but we must be obedient where obedience is required by God’s law. While paying tax is law, we should do so, for we are to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”(Luke 20:25).

This means that no one institution within society is ultimate. Reclamation of multiple authorities comes about when individuals assume their responsibilities before God, and begin to transform their family. Then, those individuals can begin the process of working with others to transform their church, their school, their community, their state, and ultimately their national government (R. N., p.33).

This is a process that can take years, or even generations. But the issue is that“power flows to those who take responsibility.”If we will take on tasks which according to scripture are clearly ours, and discharge them faithfully, we can expect God to add further tasks to us, along with authority, because “where responsibility rests, authority lies.”

All rulers are to represent God, and so we are prohibited from cursing a ruler (Ex.22:28; Ro.13:1).Our understanding of spiritual authority should always prevent us from doing so, for the same reason that David restrained himself from harming King Saul (I Sam.24; 26). Nonetheless, Christian citizens are under obligation to disobey those laws that prohibit worship and the proclamation of the gospel. Furthermore, laws that require people to commit evil must be disobeyed. The Bible shows that resistance to tyranny is legitimate and often commanded (R. N., p.102-103).

The people have the responsibility to support godly leadership. Moses chose leaders who had already come through the ranks of family, business and community leadership: “Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads”(Deut.1:13). Responsibility for choosing godly leaders rested with the people, and Christians have the freedom and duty to vote for responsible leadership using the standard of God’s law as the measuring device for their political choice (R. N., p.111).

III. Plural Law Systems-Plural Gods. Neutrality is a Myth:

The third part of the Biblical covenant structure, is a set of rules or laws man must follow in exercising his dominion over the earth. God will judge man by how he follows these rules.

In Biblical terms, there is but one Law and one Lawgiver. God thought enough of His law to send His Son to keep it in every detail. If the Son of God was required to keep the law, should anything less be expected of the sons of God? Jesus was tempted at every point with respect to obeying the commands of God, yet He remained sinless throughout His life (Heb.4:15). He kept the law perfectly, and was able to offer up Himself as a lamb without blemish, to cleanse us from our sins (Heb.9:14). (R. N., p.41).

In contrast to Jesus Christ, sinful men want to be a law unto themselves. They want to be their own lawmaker and make their own standard, so that the word of human authority becomes the new law.

Modern man seeks to create a humanistic justice by means of his social planning, laws, and education, to enable himself to establish a just order apart from God. History gives us the continuing shipwrecks of all such efforts. For all such men, their laws are attempts to force their particular doctrines of justice and order on men and societies. In so doing, they affirm the claim of the tempter in Genesis 3:5, that man is his own god and law, can determine good and evil, establish the true paradise on earth, and declare God to be irrelevant and wrong.[1]

One supposed system of law which has been popular, is natural law. Christians, when they have rejected God’s law, frequently succumb to the notion that natural law could be a just alternative. But natural law is of pagan, Greek origins. It assumes that nature is not fallen, that man’s reasoning abilities are not distorted due to the Fall, and that ethics are based on philosophy and not “religious precepts.” What makes Stalin’s murder of 60 million people wrong? What makes abortion wrong? The Bible says these are wrong, but “natural law” gives us no clear answers. Law legislates either morality or immorality. When Biblical law is rejected, the result is chaos.

The modern Protestant is a child of the Enlightenment in his political outlook. The political religious pluralism which was regarded as heretical by the church, East and West, for 1700 years is today universally accepted by Protestants as somehow innately Christian and, in the words of Unitarian sceptic Thomas Jefferson, “self-evident.” The modern secular State has issued its declaration of independence from God, and American Protestants have not only agreed, they have hailed this as the very work of God in history, their source of liberation.[2]

Any attempt to institute justice in a community without a scriptural base will be a perversion of justice, for the Bible says, “By Me kings reign, and rulers decree justice”(Prov.8:15). This was what the Queen of Sheba commented on when she visited Solomon: “Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel; because the Lord loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness”(I Kings 10:9).

Godly Jehoshaphat commenced reforms in his era (II Chron.19:4-11) as did Josiah (II Kings 23). Religious revival and reform in a populace, reflected in civil government includes legislative, executive and judicial functions (see Isa.33:22). Criminal behaviour needs to be dealt with through restitution or capital punishment. Placing criminals in goal is not according to scripture. They either are made responsible to provide restitution to their victims, or if their crime is a capital one, they forfeit their life.

The mark of a community’s commitment to liberty is its commitment to Biblical law. God’s law must be enforced. The countenances of the citizenry must be set against the countenances of criminals. The citizenry represents God. Their ordained civil agents represent them before the face of God and represent God before the faces of criminals. Civil authority flows from God to citizens to the civil magistrate. They are judges insofar as they bring sanctions, positive or negative, against their ordained representatives. They are told not to fear the face of man.[3]

Christians should never be embarrassed about involvement in politics or government. Like the family or the church, these are aspects of God’s created order. God has instituted all governments. The question is not, “do religion and politics mix?” Rather, it is “which religion will be mixed with politics?” Israel was not judged because it mixed religion with politics, but because it mixed the wrong religion with politics. Today, it is no different, and the potential for judgment is the same (R. N., p.127).

The Bible never condemns political involvement. As Gentry comments,

It is God who ordained governments in the first place. He is the One who establishes particular kings (Prov.16:12; Ps.119:46; 82:1-2). Therefore, He commands our obedience to rulers (Ro.13:1-3). Rulers are commanded to rule on His terms (Ps.2:10-12)…Jesus urged payment of taxes to de facto governments (Mat.22:15-22). In response to reminders of King Herod’s political threats against Him, Jesus publicly rebuked the king by calling him a vixen (Luke 12:32). He taught that a judge is unjust if he does not fear God (Luke 18:2, 6). John the Baptist openly criticised King Herod (Luke 3:19-20). Peter refused to obey authorities who commanded him to cease preaching (Acts 5:29). The apostle John referred to the Roman Empire as “the beast” (Rev.13).[4]


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Romans and Galatians,” 1999, p.353.

[2] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.39.

[3] ibid., ch.4.

[4] Kenneth Gentry, “The Greatness of the Great Commission,” 1981, quoted in Demar, p.125.

Jesus, Guns, And Self-Defence: What Does The Bible Say?

By Gary DeMar (American Vision), Apr 30, 2019 

The following article was written in 2016. The debate continues on how houses of worship should defend themselves. Does the Bible offer any help?

Good Christian? Bad Christian? It all depends on who’s doing the evaluating. The reaction to Jerry Falwell Jr.’s comments on encouraging students at Liberty University to be armed in case there is an ISIS attack at the school has led to a great deal of theological and political angst.

Brian D. McLaren, described as “one of the most influential Christian leaders in America and . . . recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America in 2005” has written a long article condemning Falwell’s comments.

There have been others. Peter Enns has written a muddled article for the Boston Globe. I’m not sure if Enns is supporting the Bible or condemning it.

Jonathan Merritt, writing for The Atlantic, has also condemned Falwell’s comments. He at least uses the Bible in an attempt to make his case but does so selectively.

McLaren’s long article about Falwell’s gun-arming message didn’t spend much time actually quoting the Bible and arguing for his opinion based on engagement with specific passages:

“For us, authentic Christianity is the loving, peaceful, just and generous way of life embodied in Jesus. It is characterized more by self-giving than self-defence, by pre-emptive peacemaking rather than pre-emptive violence.”

“Authentic Christianity” includes the whole Bible. Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not nullify our responsibility to be prepared with a good “self-defence” strategy if we are ever confronted with a San Bernardino type situation. Being armed and willing to defend ourselves, our family, and our neighbours is not being unchristian or even unloving. Self-defence can go a long way to protect the innocent from people who are intent on murder for whatever reason.

How “self-giving” should Christians in Paris or San Bernardino have been when confronted with the worst kind of human evil? Would it have been more “self-giving” by dying at the hands of murderers or would it have been more loving to stop those who were pumping bullets into people?

McLaren’s article is devoid of any actual biblical argument. Jesus tells us “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9), but He doesn’t tell us what our response should be when someone, despite our best efforts to be peaceful, still wants to steal, rape, and murder. We need to look at other parts of the Bible for help since the whole Bible is God’s word and not just the words in red.

John Piper’s anti-Falwell’s comments made it all the way to the editorial pages of the Washington Post. The same is true of evangelical preacher Robert Schenck. All of a sudden the Post is interested in what the Bible says when evangelicals come out against arming for self-defence but have no use for the Bible on the subjects of abortion and same-sex sexuality.

There’s Jesus’ injunction to “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:38-39). Jesus does not say to keep turning your cheek. His message is about not escalating the situation. There’s quite a difference between slapping someone across the face and someone wanting to take a baseball bat to your head or the head of your wife and/or children. Self-defence is a biblical option in such cases. Consider this passage from biblical case law:

“If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft” (Ex. 22:2-3).

The homeowner can assume that someone breaking into his house at night has nothing but bad intentions. He may be armed or not. The homeowner does not have to ask any questions to find out. The homeowner can respond by striking the intruder “so that he dies.” If this happens, even if the attempt was only theft (unknown to the homeowner), the homeowner is cleared of all guilt in the thief’s death.

Daytime is a different story because the victim can make a better assessment of intent. If two people enter a building with AR15s and other weapons, killing these people before they kill you and others is the right thing to do. Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not apply. To put it simply, there’s no time.

James B. Jordan has some helpful comments on the issue of self-defence:

Under pagan influence, Western civilization has sometimes adopted a notion of ‘fair fighting.’ There is no such thing as a fair fight. The notion of a fair fight is Satanic and barbarous. If a child or a man finds himself in a situation where an appeal to arbitration is not possible, he should fight with all he has. If the neighborhood bully catches your child on the way home from school, and your child cannot escape by fleeing, your child should poke a hole in him with a sharp pencil, or kick him in the groin. If the bully’s parents will not restrain him, call the police.
“If you or your child has been trained in self-defence, of course, you may be able to dispatch your assailant with a minimum of force. Always realize, though, that the man who attacks you, or your wife, has forfeited all his rights to ‘fair’ treatment. Women should be prepared to gouge out the eyes of any man who attacks them. (James B. Jordan, 
The Law and the Covenant: An Exposition of Exodus 21-23(Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1984), 111-112.))

In the 1959 film Ben Hur, there is a discussion between Balthasar and Judah Ben Hur about seeking revenge, which is another subject altogether and not a self-defence issue (Rom. 12:18-21):

Judah: I must deal with Messala in my own way.

Balthasar: And your way is to kill him. I see this terrible thing in your eyes, Judah Ben-Hur. But no matter what this man has done to you, you have no right to take his life. He will be punished inevitably.

Overhearing their conversation, Sheik Ilderim says, “Balthasar is a good man. But until all men are like him, we must keep our swords bright!” If all those in the world had the heart of Balthasar, then there would be no need to discuss what the right response is regarding self-defense. That’s why Paul writes, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18)

The story of David and Goliath is helpful since “five smooth stones” and a “sling” are the closest equivalent to a handgun we can find in the Bible. David seems to have been armed with his sling at all times. There was no way he could run home to get his sling when a lion or a bear was about to attack his flock (1 Sam. 17:31-3741-54).

It’s possible that Jesus had the Old Testament case law in mind when offered this injunction to His disciples:

“But be sure of this, if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matt 24:43).

But of course you rarely know when someone is going to break into your house, therefore, you must be on guard all the time. The same is true in situations like Paris and San Bernardino.

But being on guard are not enough if you are unarmed and have to face an armed intruder.

In another passage, Jesus is teaching by analogy:

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armour on which he had relied and distributes his plunder” (Luke 11:21).

A fully armed strong man is a deterrent to a thief. It’s the fact that the strong man is armed that protects the potential thief from being harmed. Another strong man will think twice about ever trying to rob or harm someone who is armed.

The two San Bernardino Muslims who murdered 14 and injured 17 never would have gone to the community center if they had known the people had followed something like what Jerry Falwell Jr. was calling on the student body at Liberty University to do.

Here’s what Falwell’s critics miss: Armed people save lives by making evil people think twice about attacking a person or place where there might be some armed push back. One could say that it’s loving to be armed since it might stop someone who has evil intent from not following through with an evil act.

The most famous New Testament passage is a command of Jesus for His disciples to sell their garments and buy a sword (Luke 22:36-38). Personally, I do not believe this is a good proof text for being armed, but it does show that being armed was a norm for that time, and Jesus does not object.

Peter impetuously uses his sword against a servant of the high priest (John 18:10Matt. 26:51Luke 22:50) who had come out with a crowd armed with clubs and swords (Luke 22:52). In biblical terms, his actions were impermissible and under biblical law would have required some form of restitution of which Jesus immediately made (Ex. 21:22-25). Under normal circumstances, swords were permissible for self-defence, otherwise, why did the “chief priests and officers of the temple and elders” have them? There is, however, something else going on here of biblical theological importance that has little to do with self-defense.

However the sword passage is interpreted, at no time did Jesus condemn anyone for having a sword. The disciples lived in dangerous times (Luke 10:29-37). Furthermore, the Romans didn’t seem to have a problem with their subjects (the Jews) owning swords.