More than Just Conservative (21)

Can and do people actually believe in slavery as salvation? Clearly, the answer is, yes, in most of history, men have clung to slavery, but it must be realized that they have rarely been honest enough to call their choice slavery. In case we ever become somewhat tolerant of the concept of slavery, we ought to remember that slavery and murder have commonly been linked in history.[1]

The Pharoah of Exodus was both a slave driver and a murderer. The Communist nations of the twentieth century, especially the Soviet Union, murdered and enslaved people by the millions. It was State policy for seventy years. That’s why it is essential to find lasting Biblical solutions to social problems, such as poverty.

You didn’t think this was a part of the gospel? Think again. When Jesus commenced His ministry, He stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth, and quoted from the prophet Isaiah, concerning Himself:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favourable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18, 19).

Socialism purports to care for the poor, but its means are to forcibly take vast amounts of money from productive people in the community through taxation, handing it over to unproductive people. But that’s not caring for the poor- that’s legalized theft, from which some “poor” people benefit.

So, how should we care for poor people? The thing that poor people need most of all, is work. This means that Christians ought to work for the elimination of award rates in employment, along with minimum wage rates and penalty rates.

Why? These compel employers to pay a specific rate of pay, whether or not the employer can afford that rate, or not. They work against poor people actually getting work.

Consider this example. Cafes, restaurants and Coffee-Shops are substantial employers in the Australian community, employing many thousands of people, nation-wide. When people go out, they want to be able to stop somewhere, for meals or refreshments, or both. If Fred the Coffee Shop owner, is compelled by law to pay his casual staff $25/hour, along with penalty rates (such as time and a half, or double time on Sundays) he may say to himself, “I can’t employ many staff at that rate. In fact, I can’t afford to open on Sundays. I’ll close the shop,” and everyone loses: his customers, himself, and his staff.

But if he can work out a sustainable labour price with his employees, he’ll be able to provide them with the maximum employment, because it’s in his interests to have his doors open. A needy employee understands that a lower rate of pay, is better than no work at all. If they are good enough, they can negotiate a better pay structure, later. What is required is the freeing up of the labour market, so that employers and employees can negotiate their arrangements, without interference from a third party.

In the long-term, this is one sure way of providing jobs for the poor. Work is what Boaz provided Ruth. She had the opportunity to engage in “gleaning:” going into his fields after the barley and wheat harvest had been completed, to pick up what had been left behind for the poor (see Ruth 2). Boaz recognized her character, her willingness to work, and showed favor to her. Later, he married her. 

At the same time, the Bible says a lot about other ways of caring for the poor. This can be in the form of money, or goods. For poor people, while having access to free money is very popular, it is also frequently abused. People like handouts without strings attached, and this will quickly bleed any truly charitable institution dry. This is why historically, poor people have tended to be divided into “deserving” and undeserving.”

Some poverty (such as drug addictions) is brought about by people’s folly, and it should not be subsidized. Other poverty is unrelated to people’s poor choices. Christian people have to be able to draw the lines in the sand, regarding which of the poor should be supported.

What poor people need most of all, is work. When they have that, they can buy food and other necessities, and they’ll get out of the poor queue. Having resources available can be a terrific help to poor people in need, and that includes knowledge of employment. The church can have a supply role in this vital field, with this encouragement to people: “Submit to God, get a job, and work hard.”

Conclusion:

Finding solutions for people’s poverty is an important aspect of the gospel. It involves money and goods, but it must be seen in a broader context, than merely providing commodities for people. The poor person most of all needs work, and removing the social hindrances to work (including negative attitudes) makes employment, and the ability to get out of poverty, possible.

Award rates, minimum rates and penalty rates are hindrances to work, making it more difficult to employ people. As the price of labour goes up, employment numbers go down. They reduce opportunities for employment, and wise governments will do away with them, letting the free market determine who gets a job, and at what rate. Jesus sent John’s disciples back to him, saying,

Go and report to John what you see and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them (Mat.11:4-5).

And this is what we are commanded to do, too.


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.149.

Exegetical Gerrymandering to Overcome the Obvious

Aug 12, 2020 by Gary DeMar

This is the third part of my series on the use of the second person plural in Matthew 24 (Part 1 and Part 2). Preterists aren’t the only ones who identify the use of the second person plural as indicative of a first-century fulfillment. Anyone reading the passage for the first time would conclude that Jesus was referring to those of His generation, that’s why so much exegetical gerrymandering is needed to overcome the obvious. The following is from Jonathan Menn’s Biblical Eschatology[1]

Both the historical and literary contexts of the reference “abomination of desolation” indicate a historical event surrounding the AD destruction of Jerusalem, not an “end-time” Antichrist. Christ’s admonition to his disciples, “when you see” the abomination of desolation or Jerusalem surrounded by armies (Matt. 24:15Mark 13:14Luke 21:20) suggests the events of AD 70 since Jesus was talking to his disciples, “you” as in the second person plural, and the events of AD 70 were in the lifetime of the disciples. Kenneth Gentry articulates what should otherwise be self-evident: “Surely Jesus does not denounce the first-century temple in which He is standing  (24:1) by declaring it ‘desolate’ (23:38), prophesying its total destruction (24:2), ten answering the question ‘when shall these things be?’ (v. 3), and warning about the temple’s ‘abomination of desolation’ (v. 15) only to speak about the destruction of a totally different temple two thousand years (or more) later.” [2]

Second, for a future abominable event to take place as is described in 24:15, there would need to be another rebuilt temple. Jesus does not say anything about a future physical temple. There isn’t a single verse anywhere in the New Testament that says the temple needs to be rebuilt or will be rebuilt. The temple was standing when Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (2 Thess 2) and when Revelation was written (Rev. 11:1–2). Even those who claim a temple will be rebuilt admit there is no verse to support their claim. For example, rebuilt-temple advocates Thomas Ice and Randall Price acknowledge, “There are no Bible verses that say, ‘There is going to be a third temple.’” [3] The burden of proof is not on to the preterist to prove that the New Testament doesn’t say anything about another rebuilt temple. It’s up to futurists like Brock Hollett to prove the Bible says the temple will be rebuilt and Jesus is making a case for such a position in Matthew 24:15 given the use of the second person plural, Matthew 24:33 (“when you see these things”), and Matthew 24:34 that clearly states the prophetic events described by Jesus took place before their generation passed away.

Third, the events that follow Matthew 24:15 can be escaped on foot. This means this was a local event of ancient times that included Sabbath observance, flat roofs, and valuable commodities like a cloak. In Exodus 22:26–27, a person’s cloak was often used as a pledge or collateral, as a result, James Jordan writes, the person holding the cloak was “to return it to him before the sun sets, for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his skin. What else will he sleep in?” Later in Matthew 24, “grinding at the mill” (24:41; see Deut. 24:6) is mentioned. Who does this today? How does this fit with our modern era? It doesn’t. Futurists argue that the events of Matthew 24 refer to a global event. There is nothing global about what Jesus is describing (24:16–17).

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If the second person plural is about a future audience, who are the “you” who will see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place? The world won’t see it. Some might argue that the event will be seen live on TV. So how would these viewers follow the command of Jesus to flee to the mountains outside of Judea? Only those living in Jerusalem would see it, and what good would it do to flee to the mountains when a global tribulation is supposed to take place when a third of the stars will hit the earth (Rev. 6:12–14)?

One last point. A new temple would not be a God-commissioned temple. The true temple is Jesus Christ (John 2:14–25) and believers by extension since the Holy Spirit dwells in us (1 Cor. 3:16–76:192 Cor. 6:16Eph. 2:21). No future temple could have an abomination that causes desolation since a future temple wouldn’t have any covenantal significance similar to the way earthly Jerusalem no longer has any covenantal significance (Gal. 4:21–31Heb. 12:18–291 Peter 2:4–8).

James Jordan has a unique perspective on the identity of the abomination of desolation. Jim is always worth listening to:

Possibly the completion of the temple, now wholly dedicated to preserving the dead forms of Old Creation religion against Jesus Christ, is the specific event Jesus was prophesying. The abomination of desolation stands in the “holy place.” The word “place” here is not the word used for the Holy Place of the tabernacle and temple, the outer room of God’s Palace, the word hagios. Rather, the word for “place” here, topos, indicates a general area, in this case a holy area. What is in view is the temple mount, and the abomination is the temple.

Jesus had claimed that He was the true Temple. By continuing to build Herod’s temple, the Jews were explicitly rejecting Jesus’ claim. The completion of that false temple brought to a fulness that sacrilegious rejection, and at that point God completely abandoned the Jews.

The completion of that temple naturally caused great rejoicing among the Jews. Now they were sure that God was on their side. Their leaders, the false messiahs and false prophets, encouraged them to revolt against Rome and to wipe out the obnoxious Christians. The restraint that God had exercised over the Jews had been removed and they attacked in full fury, doubtless also encouraged by Nero’s imperial persecution of the Christians, which began at this same time.

*****

Thus, the completion of the temple is not the main sin. It is only a sign to the believers that the Great Tribulation is about to start. That great persecution of believers is the actual abomination that brings about the destruction of Jerusalem, as the blood of the martyrs of Revelation 14 calls down God’s wrath in Revelation 16–17.

These were most likely the “mockers” Peter described in 2 Peter 3:3–4 (also Jude 18). They were mocking because the temple was standing more gloriously than ever before, and yet Jesus had predicted that it would be torn down stone by stone before their generation passed away (Matt. 23:3824:1–2).

Fourth, Jesus said that no one knows the day or the hour when this judgment coming would take place (24:35–36). This means it could have happened within five years or ten years. The audience reference “you” fits with knowing the generation—their generation—but not the day or hour of that end-of-generation judgment.

  1. Jonathan Menn, Biblical Eschatology, 2nd ed. (Eugene, OR: Resource Publicans/Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2018), 123–124.[]
  2. Kenneth L. Gentry, “The Great Tribulation is Past: Exposition,” in The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? Two Evangelicals Debate the Question (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1999), 24.[]
  3. Thomas Ice and Randall Price, Ready to Rebuild: The Imminent Plan to Rebuild the Last Days Temple (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1992), 197–198.[]

More than Just Conservative (19)

               …Even the compassion of the wicked is cruel (Prov.12:10).

Particularly since the Great Depression, we have gotten ourselves into a right pickle in the West, in relation to our expectation of what governments can do for us. This has already caused us some drama, and will cause a whole lot more in the coming years.

Why?

Because the West’s underlying belief structures have been shifting steadily away from God. But as Chesterton observed, when men stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing; they believe in anything. So people have been drawn to believe that the government can ultimately do for them, what only Jesus Christ could ever do. And this is where we have got it terribly wrong. As North has pointed out,

The State is not an agency of creative transformation. It is not a saviour state. Men should not seek to make the State an agency of social salvation. It is supposed to enforce Biblical civil law-no more, no less. The State is not supposed to make men righteous; its God-assigned task is to restrain certain specified tasks of public evil.[1]

The most important reason that governments can’t do it, is that God hasn’t gifted them and instructed them to do so. They have tried all right, and they will keep on trying to prove the Bible completely wrong. But all the trying won’t prevent failing.

The marks of the welfare state historically are useless wars, broken promises, the failure to deal with basic infrastructure needs, massive bureaucracies and debt. Today, all over the western world, the wheels are steadily coming off the economic billy-carts. Know of any nations that are running a budget surplus these days? They are as scarce as hen’s teeth. The consistent trend is more debt, on top of what has been borrowed in the past. And in most countries, that’s a lot.

But there’s more. I read of a US soldier, wounded in the Viet Nam War. Like many thousands of others, he needs on-going treatment for resultant chronic health problems.

But can he get it? No. Because the Defence Department bureaucracy can’t cope with the number of people with needs. It is under-funded and under-staffed.

Try dealing with this if, as is the case with an acquaintance of mine, you are so riddled with shrapnel, because something big came through the bottom of your helicopter, that you are in constant pain – forty years later. You have to take so much pain medication just to get through the day that you can’t understand bureaucratic letters.

This man’s legal adviser wrote to him:

I currently have four claims for Iraq and Afghanistan kids for shoulder, hip and knee injuries, usually caused when they fall going up or down hilly terrain with these [back-pack] loads. Then there are the injuries caused by IEDs. The truth is that the President has given more money to the VA in five years than Bush did in eight, but it’s not enough, thanks to Republicans in the House. The new budget proposes a 4% increase to $63 billion, but it does not include enough money to hire thousands of new people to work on claims. Most of the increase is to hire more medical staff, particularly mental health providers. It does no good to offer mental-health services when the vets who are suffering can’t get their claims done in less than a year. It is forcing many to live on the streets, sleep in their cars or they end up in shelters. We see this right here, in Central Oregon.[2]

There is a lot more that could be said about the flaws and evils of socialism in every nation where it’s been tried. What is plainly evident though, is that socialism is essentially a curse on any nation.

But there’s something important here to note. The scripture tells us that “… a curse without cause does not alight” (Prov.26:2). Socialism is not merely politically applied atheistic beliefs, or a set of social policies: it is a result of the Church’s disobedience to God.

How is that?

Think of this statistic. Some years ago I heard that only 3% of American church-goers tithe. The tithe is commanded by God to support ministers (see Mal.3:8-12), and has the capacity to empower the Church to innumerable tasks of assistance and reconstruction. The Church would clearly become a powerful and influential social institution, if Church members world-wide faithfully tithed.

And the Bible clearly teaches that failure to tithe brings a curse on people, because it is robbing God (Mal.3:8-12). Now if only 3% of the Church in the US is tithing, there is 97% of the problem. God is using the evils of socialism (as bad as they are) as a rebuke to His people. So, many nations in the West are paying tax rates of 40% or more. In France, the top tax rate is 85%.

We have to face up to this. It’s no good saying, “Well, tithing was under the Old Covenant, but we’re under the New Covenant now, so tithing’s finished with now.”

Is that all? No.

Tithing is one aspect of Old Testament law, which the Church has been distancing itself from for hundreds of years, and now the birds are coming home to roost, just as God said they would in Deuteronomy 28 (and other places). That’s what has gotten us into this mess, internationally.

This is the issue:

When God deals with His people in a harsh way in history, it is a means of restoration: judgment unto restoration, not judgment unto destruction.[3]

The compassion of the wicked is indeed cruel, as that US serviceman can attest. And the ultimate solution to this is not political action. It’s the obedience of Christians to God’s Word (including tithing), and many other aspects of Christian obedience. Are you ready for that?


[1] Gary N. North, “Tools of Dominion,” 1990, Vol.3, p.540.

[2] Fred Reed, “Screwing the Troops,” Lew Rockwell website, 10/4/2013.

[3] Gary North, “Tools of Dominion,” 1990, Vol.3, p.540.

Are the Enemies of Western Civilization on life support?

Aug 3, 2020 by Gary DeMar

Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, wrote the following concerning reports that he was seriously ill and near death (it was his cousin): “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” A similar thing can be said about Western Civilization. It may be ill, but it’s not dead. The enemies of Western Civilization are on life support because they are using force to implement their ideology. This is a sign of illegitimacy, desperation, and failure to change people’s minds by reasoned discussion.

Consider what’s happening in Louisville, Kentucky:

An activist group is threatening Louisville business owners with possible repercussions if they fail to submit to their list of social justice-related demands. Phelix Crittenden, who is allegedly the “lead supply organizer for BLM Louisville chapter,” created a group called “Blacks Organizing Strategic Success [BOSS].”

The group’s demands include having a minimum of 23% Black staff and purchasing “a minimum of 23% inventory from Black retailers or make a recurring monthly donation of 1.5% of net sales to a local Black nonprofit or organization.”

Failure to comply will mean financial repercussions from BOSS that could shut down the non-complying business through boycott efforts and negative publicity “by launching negative reviews and social media posts about the businesses.”

These types of actions are a microcosm of a larger problem brought on by attempting to affect culture via power. “In an anarcho-capitalist world of profit-seeking private armies, the result is the warlord society. Militarily successful private armies will always seek to establish their monopolistic rule by killing the competition, literally.” [1]

The main reason anti-Christian civilizationists survive and seem to thrive is that Christians have not engaged with and built a competing alternative culture. Moreover, many Christians don’t believe there can be a Christian civilization, so they send their children off to the local government school that is anti-Christian believing that facts are neutral and public education is free. Such thinking comes at a terrible cost since there is no such thing as “free.” There’s always a cost. Actions by Christians can change this problem by simple obedience to God’s law. If wolves in sheep clothing are a problem for the people of God, then what should we think of wolves who are admitted wolves?

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It hasn’t always been this way. Winston Churchill, for example, saw the Battle of Britain as a struggle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. “Upon this battle,” Churchill said on the 18th of June 1940, “depends the survival of Christian civilization.” [2]

Christianity has always entered the world when it was deep in the stench of paganism and darkness. In the past, such conditions have brought out the best in the Christian worldview. Christianity infused the world with the light of the gospel and its call for the redemption of sinners and their sin-stained world. This vision of Christianity seems lost on many of today’s Christians.

Anti-Christians are killing off their future via abortion and choosing not to have children. Homosexuality and transgenderism (and all the other genderisms) are self-emasculating. When men and women are cutting off their genitals to identify as the opposite sex, we must ask whose civilization is coming to an end.

There are many Christians who will not participate in civilization-building efforts that include politics because they believe (or have been taught to believe) that politics is outside the realm of what constitutes a Christian worldview. “Politics is dirty,” “Jesus didn’t get mixed up in politics,” “Politics is about law, and Christianity is about grace,” “Government is not our savior; Jesus is,” “Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world,” “The Christian’s only task is to preach the gospel, and so many more myths.” [3]

The thing of it is, a biblical worldview includes politics, the civil dimension of biblical government. The British poet and literary critic T. S. Eliot (1888–1965) makes the point better than I can:

Yet there is an aspect in which we can see a religion as the whole way of life of a people, from birth to the grave, from morning to night and even in sleep, and that way of life is also its culture…. It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe have—until recently—been rooted. It is against a background of Christianity that all our thought has significance. An individual European may not believe that the Christian Faith is true, and yet what he says, and makes, and does, will all spring out of his heritage of Christian culture and depend upon that culture for its meaning…. If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. [4]

The entire Bible speaks about the subjects of governments and politics just like it speaks about everything else. Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920), Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Professor of Theology at the Free University of Amsterdam and editor of the daily newspaper The Standard, summarized this truth with these words: “[N]o single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: “Mine!’” [5]

If holiness means “Thou Shalt not steal” for you and me, then it also means the same thing for you and me if we decide to become a civil official. Politics, actually “civil government,” is not morally neutral territory just like self-, family, and church governments are not morally neutral. If we follow the reasoning of some Christians, we can’t speak out against civil ministers when they violate their oath to uphold the Constitution and violate some biblical law, for example, the specific law against man-stealing (Ex. 21:161 Tim. 1:10Rev. 18:13). Should we remain silent and passive when a husband violates his marriage oath or a minister of the gospel who violates his ordination vows? Of course, we should not. There are procedures to deal with these violations. The same is true in the civil realm. It includes organizing people to oppose civil oath violators to remove them from office.

So, if thieves break into your home and burn it down, what should you do? What if they beat and rape your wife and steal all your stuff? If the chief of police and the mayor don’t do anything about it, are these non-involved Christians telling their fellow-Christians that they should not protest but just take the persecution “for righteousness’ sake”? Would he be considered “proud,” “pompous” and a “power monger” to rally his neighbors to vote the mayor out of office in the next election? According to God’s Word, the civil magistrate has the power of the sword (Rom. 13:1–4). Without limits on the civil minister’s authority and power, that sword can do a lot of harm to a lot of people.

Romans 13The Establishment and Limits of Civil Gov’tIt seems that almost on a daily basis we are losing our God-given rights. Some even make the case that there is a direct assault on the Christian religion because it is the only belief system that is greater than government and puts limits on governments.Buy Now

I suppose as Christians like Corrie ten Boom (1893–1983) and her family were being dragged off to a concentration camp for helping Jews escape from the Nazis, their fellow-Christians should have told them, “This is what you get for not being willing to be oppressed and disenfranchised for righteousness’ sake. You should have made peace with the Nazis not protest against them. Persecution is the Christian’s lot in life.”

If Christians had been involved in civilization-building efforts, including civil governments decades before and understood the limits of unchallenged actions by those who work against a Christian civilization, Germany would never have had an Adolf Hitler. In 19th-century Germany, a distinction was made between the realm of public policy managed by the State and the domain of private morality under the province of the gospel. Religion was the sphere of the inner personal life, while things public came under the jurisdiction of the “worldly powers.” Redemption was fully the province of the church while the civil sphere was solely the province of the State. “Religion was a private matter that concerned itself with the personal and moral development of the individual. The external order—nature, scientific knowledge, statecraft—operated on the basis of its own internal logic and discernable laws.” [6]

It’s a travesty that many Christians hold similar views today. It doesn’t help that Millions of Christians believe it’s hopeless and that the remedy is something called “the rapture of the church” that will rescue Christians from responsibility. See my article “A Vote for Biden Will Hasten Jesus’ Return and His Second Coming.”

  1. Gary North, “Resistance to Church Lockdowns: What About Romans 13?” (July 30, 2020).[]
  2. Quoted in John Baillie, What is Christian Civilization? (London:  Oxford University Press, 1945), 5.[]
  3. See my book Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2010).[]
  4. T.S. Eliot, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1949), 29, 126.[]
  5. Abraham Kuyper, “Sphere Sovereignty” (1880) in James D. Bratt, ed., Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 488.[]
  6. Richard V. Pierard, “Why Did Protestants Welcome Hitler?,” Fides et Historia (North Newton, KS: The Conference on Faith and History), X:2 (Spring 1978), 13.[]

More than Just Conservative (20)

Resistance to Church Lockdowns: What About Romans 13?

Gary North – July 30, 2020

I reported on their defiance in yesterday’s article: https://www.garynorth.com/public/21145.cfm.

The elders made their defiance clear. They did not weasel.

Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles. As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.

In the next paragraph, they cut off those pastors who prefer compliance, and who would be willing to cite Romans 13 as justification for this compliance. Here is Romans 13, verses 1 through 7.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

The elders correctly understand the context of Paul’s statement — the tyrannical Roman Empire — and also how Paul’s words should be applied today.

Some will think such a firm statement is inexorably in conflict with the command to be subject to governing authorities laid out in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2. Scripture does mandate careful, conscientious obedience to all governing authority, including kings, governors, employers, and their agents (in Peter’s words, “not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable” [1 Peter 2:18]). Insofar as government authorities do not attempt to assert ecclesiastical authority or issue orders that forbid our obedience to God’s law, their authority is to be obeyed whether we agree with their rulings or not. In other words, Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 still bind the consciences of individual Christians. We are to obey our civil authorities as powers that God Himself has ordained.

Later in their manifesto, they wrote this:

Accordingly, the honor that we rightly owe our earthly governors and magistrates (Romans 13:7) does not include compliance when such officials attempt to subvert sound doctrine, corrupt biblical morality, exercise ecclesiastical authority, or supplant Christ as head of the church in any other way.

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote this:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour (I Timothy 2:1-3).

Paul was clear: civil government is legitimate. Churches even owe public prayer for civil rulers. He could not have been more clear on this point.

Peter was equally clear: Christians don’t owe obedience to civil laws that undermine the church of Jesus Christ. They are not morally obligated to obey these laws.

There is another issue: the language of plural governments. Paul was not writing just about civil government. He uses the word authorities. That is a plural word. I have explained this elsewhere.

LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENTS

In 2001, I published my economic commentary on Paul’s letter to the church at Rome: Competition and Dominion I had it professionally typeset in 2012. It is posted as a PDF here. Chapter 11 presents my analysis of Romans 13:1-7: “Legitimate Governments.” Here is what I wrote, but without the footnotes.A. Plural Authorities

Paul speaks of higher powers. Strong’s Concordance defined the Greek word exousia as follows: “(in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subj.) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (obj.) mastery (concr. magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.” It means, basically, lawful authorities. There are more than one. There is no single hierarchy in this life. God has created competing jurisdictions in order to eliminate the possibility of an absolute centralized tyranny. “And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city” (Gen. 11:6– 8). A national civil government or empire has always faced competition: from foreign civil rulers, local civil rulers, families, kinship groups, churches, voluntary associations, and businesses.

Paul says here that lawful authorities deserve obedience. He does not say or imply that there is only one lawful institutional authority that must be obeyed. In his confrontation with the high priest, he made this point clear. Even though he was an apostle and in possession of lawful authority, he did not deliberately challenge the high priest. “And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people” (Acts 23:2–5). Paul honored lawful authorities. But when one authority could be used to offset another, Paul set them in competition to gain his freedom. “But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided” (Acts 23:6–7). The Sadducee party, which denied the bodily resurrection, was associated with the temple’s priesthood. Paul’s words to the Pharisees immediately undermined Ananias’ power to prosecute Paul on the authority of the priesthood.

No power is established on earth that is not established by God. On this point, Paul is clear. “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (v. 1). This English phrase—“the powers that be”—has come down through the centuries to describe the supreme rulers in a society. Therefore, obedience to them is biblically mandatory. “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (v. 2). Because God has established authorities to rule over men, men are required by God to obey rulers.

Paul lived under the rule of Nero, a tyrant by any standard. Yet he writes: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good” (v. 4) Christians are to do good deeds, gaining praise from their rulers. God has set rulers in seats of authority to be a terror to evil-doers. Let these rulers devote their efforts to overcoming their enemies, not look for rebellious Christians to prosecute.

There are rulers who themselves are evil and allied with evil men. Nevertheless, Paul says to obey. The goal of governments is to defend social order. Every government has rules. It enforces standards with sanctions. Most civil rulers want more authority for themselves. They want things to run smoothly. God has built into human nature the desire to live in a predictable world. For predictability, there must be rules and sanctions. This is why rules and sanctions make life easier. Tyrants want predictability. The closer to righteousness the civil laws are, the more voluntary cooperation that rulers will gain from their subordinates. Rulers cannot rule without subordinates who voluntarily cooperate. If everyone refused to obey a law, there would not be enough police to enforce it. This is why rulers prosecute a representative figure. This sends a message to the public: “If you don’t obey, and everyone else does, we’ll get you.” But there comes a day when many people take a chance and deliberately disobey the law. They refuse to cooperate with the civil government. On that day, the illusion of state omnipotence ends.

The early church lived under a pagan civil tyranny. Rome mandated idolatry as a means of extending the power of the empire. This polytheistic system of civil rule sought intercultural unity by divinizing the emperor. But Christians refused to offer public sacrifices to “the genius of the emperor,” for they understood the theology of ancient empires: the divinization of man and the state. For this rebellion, they were intermittently persecuted for almost three centuries. They did not rebel by taking up arms. They merely refused to participate in false worship. Over time, they gained the reputation for being good citizens and reliable subordinates. In the fourth century, they inherited the Roman empire. They had served under tyranny, and they became rulers when this tyranny collapsed into the chaos of civil war and bankruptcy. Nonviolent disobedience to civil authority on this one point eventually gained Christians civil authority. Otherwise, they were obedient. This is a biblical principle of authority: he who seeks to rule should first serve. Jesus told His disciples, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve” (Luke 22:25–26). But there is another principle of biblical authority. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Both principles must be honored. Both principles must be intellectually defended by covenant-keepers. Both must be honored by the flock.B. The Legitimacy of Governments

Paul’s discussion of institutional authorities follows a passage that challenges personal vengeance. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19). If personal vengeance is wrong, then how does God bring vengeance in history? Through civil government. The text does not say that vengeance is wrong. It says that God possesses final authority to impose vengeance. He has delegated the authority to impose physical vengeance to two governments: civil and family. Peter agreed with Paul on this point. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (I Peter 2:13–19).

Neither Peter nor Paul demanded obedience to civil government at the expense of obedience to other lawful governments. Again, Peter explicitly told the Jewish leaders, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29b). Yet they had the authority to beat him, which they did (Acts 5:40). He submitted to the beating, but not to their command to stop preaching the gospel. He disobeyed, but he submitted to the sanctions for the sake of his disobedience. So did Paul.

The point is this: Peter and Paul self-consciously operated within the existing Roman legal system. Paul understood Roman law, and as a Roman citizen, he invoked it. “But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar” (Acts 25:9–11). His words, “I refuse not to die,” affirmed the legitimacy of civil government, including capital punishment. But, at the same time, he appealed to Caesar to escape the jurisdiction of Festus, who Paul believed was acting on behalf of the Jews. This was consistent with his affirmation of the ministerial office of civil magistrates.

The anarcho-capitalist rejects all forms of civil government. He can point to every kind of tax as distorting the free market. He sees the free market as legitimately autonomous. But then come the problems of violence and sin. How can these be predictably restrained? The biblical answer is government, including civil government. In an anarcho-capitalist world of profit-seeking private armies, the result is the warlord society. Militarily successful private armies will always seek to establish their monopolistic rule by killing the competition, literally. Civil governments always reappear. They are one of God’s four ordained systems of government: self-government, church government, family government, and civil government. All four are sealed by an oath. All four involve sanctions.

Christians cannot legitimately adopt the libertarian quest to establish a world devoid of civil government. Sin mandates civil government and civil sanctions. The right of civil rulers to impose physical punishments is affirmed clearly by Paul in Acts 25. He affirms in Romans 13 the legitimacy of civil government among other legitimate governments. He says that rulers are ordained by God as His ministers. This is powerful language. It invokes the authority of God on behalf of the state. If Paul is correct, then anarcho-capitalism is incorrect. There is no way around this.C. Crime vs. the Division of Labor

The threat of crime forces men to allocate scarce economic resources to the defense against criminals. The state is the primary institutional means of crime prevention. The state imposes negative sanctions on convicted criminals. The goal is to uphold justice by means of fear. “And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deut. 19:18–21). Fear adds to the cost to criminal behavior. As the economist says, when the cost of anything increases, other things remaining equal, less of it is demanded. This is the goal of negative civil sanctions: less crime.

The expense of crime-prevention reduces men’s wealth. They believe that this expenditure prevents an even greater reduction of their wealth by criminals. Men find it more expensive to cooperate when crime increases. Their lives and property are less secure. This makes them more cautious about entering into cooperative ventures with people they do not know well. The information costs of dealing with strangers are high, and some people choose not to take these extra risks. Because of sin, the division of labor is reduced. Crime-prevention activities are a means of removing risk and increasing the level of cooperation. Institutional authorities seek to reduce crime by imposing negative sanctions on law-breakers.

To maximize the division of labor in a world of sin, the state must impose negative sanctions only on law-breakers, biblically defined. By adding laws that go beyond the Bible, or even go counter to it, civil rulers reduce the division of labor. Legislators and bureaucrats who go beyond the Bible in seeking to stamp out illegal activities make it more expensive for people to cooperate voluntarily to achieve their ends. This reduces the division of labor. It therefore reduces people’s wealth. The state thereby produces the same condition that criminals produce. The difference is, good men feel justified in defending themselves against criminals. They feel far less justified in defending themselves against the state. The predator state can become a greater threat to economic and social cooperation than the predator criminal class. In some cases, the state allies itself with the criminal class.Conclusion

Paul speaks of the illegitimacy of personal vengeance. He does not deny the legitimacy of vengeance as such. He says that God has restricted vengeance to legitimate civil governments. Civil power is supposed to restrain unpredictable personal violence, family feuds, and gang warfare. The free market is not autonomous. It is an extension of the individual or the family, both of which operate under civil law. The free market is under civil law. Civil law covenantally is superior to the free market. The civil covenant establishes the conditions of the free market by shaping public behavior and attitudes. Civil law is enforced by rulers who are ministers of God. Taxation as such is not theft, contrary to some libertarian theorists. Most forms of taxation are theft, and all levels above the tithe surely are (I Sam. 8:15, 17), but not all. Lawful authorities are entitled to economic support. Taxation supports the state.

Paul calls on Christians to obey lawful authorities. This may mean challenging one authority in the name of another. Authorities are to some extent in competition with each other. It is not unlawful to pit one against the other, as Paul’s tactics in Acts indicate. Freedom is sometimes achieved by using one authority to reduce the power of another. Paul used Roman law to undermine Festus’ desire to please the Jews. He lawfully removed himself from Festus’ jurisdiction. A legal system should not be allowed to become monolithic.

CONCLUSION

Rev. MacArthur and the church elders presented a biblically accurate assessment of Romans 13:1-7. I hope other congregations that face tyrannical lockdown laws will do the same when they defy these unjust, illegitimate laws and rules.

“His Blood shall be on us and on our children!”

Aug 11, 2020 by Gary DeMar

Jesus has a single generation in view for judgment in Matthew 24 because it was the single generation that turned Jesus over to the Romans and pronounced a curse on themselves. When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified (Matt. 27:24–26).

Indeed, the judgment on Jerusalem was on them and their children. This was to be a national judgment (23:37–38) that could be escaped by leaving the city (24:16–17; Luke 21:20–24). No future generation was guilty of the crime of crucifying “the Lord of Glory” (1 Cor. 2:8: note “the rulers of this age”) and choosing someone like Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus and declaring that they had “no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). A future generation of Jews isn’t guilty of this particular evil, therefore, why should it be judged?

There is no comparable time limiter in Deuteronomy 29–30. When you read further in Deuteronomy, you find the following:

Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today (Deut. 29:14–15).

Israel was directly told that some of what was said would apply to “the generation to come” (29:22). Those who made up that contemporary generation would have their heart circumcised and the heart of their descendants (30:6; also v. 19).

In Deuteronomy 31, we find a prophecy about what is specifically said about the future. The prophecy is not limited to “this,” that is, their generation as it is in the Olivet Discourse.

The other problem the futurist interpretation of Matthew 24:15 must face is where the abomination of desolation will appear. All agree that it’s in the temple, the temple that Jesus said would be destroyed before that generation passed away. “Not one stone here shall be left would be left upon another, which will not be torn down” (Matt. 24:2). All agree that this took place in AD 70.

First, as we’ve seen, there is no indication that the use of the second person plural (you) refers to a non-identified future generation. Unlike Deuteronomy 29–30, Jesus does not mention distant generations. The use of the second person plural is used consistently for those of that generation. Consider Matthew 24:33: “so, YOU too, when YOU see all these things, recognize that He/it is near, right at the door.” It is beyond me how anyone can claim that the first use of “you” is different from the second use of “you” separated by nearly 2000 years.

Jesus’ enemies certainly understood the audience relevance of His words after a series of parables. Who is Jesus referring to when He asks, “But what do you think?” (Matt. 21:28) and “Did you never read in the Scriptures?” (21:42), and “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it” (21:43)? It seems the chief priests and Pharisees had a better understanding of language than many modern-day prophecy theorists:

And when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them (21:45).

The second person plural in Matthew 24 begins with verse 2 (“do you not see”) and can only refer to those in Jesus’ audience. At what point does the use of “you” switch to a future audience? A comment in Tim LaHaye’s Prophecy Study Bible claims that “you” in Matthew 24:15 “must be taken generically as ‘you of the Jewish nation.’” [1] Where in the text does it say this? There is no evidence offered by the editors to substantiate a shift in audience reference from the disciples of that generation to Jews living at a time far removed from their day. If Jesus had wanted to refer to a different audience, He could have said, “When they see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).” Even if the “you” in 24:15 does refer to the “you of the Jewish nation,” the reference is to the Jews of that generation alone based on verses 33 and 34. Brian Schwertley in his commentary “Matthew 24 and the Great Tribulation” frames the argument well:

Speaking directly to the disciples, … Jesus said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you” (v. 4); “you will hear of wars” (v. 6); “see that you are not troubled” (v. 6); “they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations” (v. 9); “when you see the abomination of desolation” (v. 15); “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” (v. 33), “Assuredly I say to you this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (v. 34). Given all these things we can say with assurance that the disciples most likely took Christ’s words at face value. If one accepts the futurist interpretation of Matthew 24:5–34, then one has accepted an interpretation of which the apostles were almost certainly ignorant.

Why confuse the disciples when Matthew includes the phrase, “let the reader understand” (24:15)? They were to understand, not just about the abomination of desolation but about the entire discourse because they would have to take action when certain events took place (24:16–17; Luke 21:20–24).

  1. Tim LaHaye, ed. Prophecy Study Bible (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000), 1038, note on Matthew 24:15.[]

More than Just Conservative (18)

Woe to those who scheme iniquity, who work out evil on their beds! When morning comes, they do it, for it is in the power of their hands. They covet fields and then seize them and houses, and take them away. They rob a man and his house, a man and his inheritance (Mic.2:1-2).

Messianic government tries to be society’s Messiah. It thus has to know all things, be all-powerful and infallible, along with being totally just and wonderfully compassionate, just like the real Messiah. But these are very big challenges for us mortals. For Jesus Christ, these challenges were fine, but for us?

It’s way too hard.  History has shown that whenever governments (explicitly or implicitly) hold out the idea of their messianic abilities, things tend to come unstuck very quickly. Not only that, but the lives of people in the community are then very often at risk. Think of the US.

America has plenty of enemies but they can probably relax. Who among them could do to the US the amount of damage that it is doing to itself?

Terrorists brought down some buildings in New York and punched a hole in the Pentagon. But it was not a terrorist who brought down the US economy at a staggering cost of more than $US20 trillion (Australian $19.4 trillion) in losses in the value of family homes, shares and retirement funds.

It was, of course, poor US policy and weak governance. In other words, it was self-inflicted, man-made and entirely avoidable. The enemies of the US can only dream of inflicting this much damage on the superpower.[1]

One of the hardest things for Messianic governments to do, is to leave the free-market alone. The free-market has lots of lumps and bumps; it can certainly be a rough ride. But economic Messiahs want to “sort things out.” They want to “make it easier for people.” So, they interfere in the free-market.

Where? Anywhere. Take Health. Socialised health-care was ostensibly to help the poor have better access to health-care. But whenever governments involve themselves in almost any community service activity, the cost to the community goes up dramatically, and the efficiency goes through the floor.

Why? Decisions are not made by private individuals anymore. Governments have to employ vast numbers of bureaucrats to check on and oversee everything. Rather than individuals making their own private decisions about doctors, hospitals and their health, some decisions are made for them by bureaucrats.

But bureaucrats don’t have a vested interest in an outcome. They merely have a job to do, and if it goes wrong, so what? They rarely lose their job.

Hunters and homeless people in Louisiana are righteously outraged after state health officials forced a homeless shelter to throw out nearly a ton of perfectly good venison.

The meat that had been donated to the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission could have fed more than 3,000 people. Instead, it was tossed in trash bins by officials from the Department of Health and Hospitals who say that state law prohibits the serving of venison in homeless shelters.

Not only did the officials toss the meat, they doused it with Clorox to make sure it couldn’t be eaten by animals or, presumably, people.

“Deer meat is not permitted to be served in a shelter, restaurant or any other public eating establishment in Louisiana,” an official told Fox News in an email. “While we applaud the good intentions of the hunters who donated this meat, we must protect the people who eat at the Rescue Mission, and we cannot allow a potentially serious health threat to endanger the public.”

Richard Campbell, co-founder of Hunters for the Hungry, a charitable group that donates wild game to shelters, said hunters across the state and in Mississippi are outraged about the statement and the waste.[2]


That’s why there is almost nothing that ought to be left in the hands of government today, or at anytime. They have enough difficulty staying out of trouble when they are left with only law and infrastructure. It is the individuals and families of the community that ought to be making the big decisions. Decentralisation is Biblical; it’s always the way to travel for lovers of liberty. This is an ancient but fading mark of conservative political thought. Why?

Good government starts by recognising we are not the Messiah, and will never be. Joseph acknowledged to Pharoah that “…it is not in me…” (Gen.41:16). “The government shall rest upon His shoulders” (Isa.9:6), not ours. It also starts by recognising there are real limits on what governments can successfully accomplish, and interfering in the free-market through government policy always proves to be a form of community abuse.

Stay away from it.


[1] Peter Hartcher, ‘Sound of Silence as new Debt Woes Grow,’ “The Sydney Morning Herald,” 26/2/2013.

[2] “Let Them Eat Cake? Government Destroys 1,600 Pounds of Deer Meat for Homeless Just Because,” Tad Cronn, [news@godfatherpolitics.com], 27/2/2013.

‘A Vote for Biden Will Hasten Jesus’ Return and His Second Coming’

Jul 31, 2020 by Gary DeMar

On his Monday (7/27/20) show, Rush Limbaugh said that Republicans “may never win another election” if they don’t take a serious stand against rioting in America and what he calls a “reality-denying, corrupt string of lies” from the Democratic Party. “Everything the Democrat Party is saying is a demonstrable, provable, misleading lie—and yet crickets from the Republican Party on this.” (WND)

It’s not only most Republicans who are missing in action. There are many Christians who are hoping to be missing in action and believe a vote for Joe Biden will help them be missing entirely from the onslaught of evil to come. What do I mean? The following was sent to me by a long-time friend:

I had a woman tell me today that it may work out better for Christians to vote for Biden because it would hasten Jesus’ return and His second coming. The Christians would be taken out of this mess. You are correct about the dangers of premillennialism.

After posting this article a friend sent me the following:

Gary DeMar just posted an article about Christians voting for Biden because they believe Trump  is working against God’s Plans. Things are supposed to get worse in the last days, not better—they say. 

This is no exaggeration. I have friends, many of them, who believe this way. Now, these guys aren’t going to actually vote for Biden since he is pro-choice. They are just not going to vote period! My one friend actually used the words: “Trump’s intentions are good, but he’s postponing the rapture!” 

Ideas have consequences. 

For 40 years I have been warning Christians about prophetic beliefs that immobilize Christians. No one knows how many Christians have dropped out of the culture war because they are convinced that we are living in the last days.

Last Days Madness

Last Days Madness is a comprehensive study of Bible prophecy that sheds light on the most difficult and studied prophetic passages in the Bible, including Daniel 7:13-149:24-27Matt. 16:27-2824-252 Thess. 22 Peter 3:3-13, and clearly explains a host of other prophetic controversial topics. Buy Now

This discredited belief system goes back a long time, but it’s been ramped up in the past 50 years. Consider the following:

  • “What a way to live! With optimism, with anticipation, with excitement. We should be living like persons who don’t expect to be around much longer.” [1]
  • “I don’t like clichés but I’ve heard it said, ‘God didn’t send me to clean the fish bowl, he sent me to fish.’ In a way there’s a truth to that.” [2]
  • “The church is not in the business of taking anything away from Satan but the souls of men. The world is a sinking Titanic ripe for judgment, not Garden of Eden perfection.”
  • “This world is not going to get any easier to live in. Almost unbelievably hard times lie ahead. Indeed, Jesus said that these coming days will be uniquely terrible. Nothing in all the previous history of the world can compare with what lies in store for mankind.” [3]
  • “‘Reclaiming’ the culture is a pointless, futile exercise. I am convinced we are living in a post-Christian society—a civilization that exists under God’s judgment.” [4]
  • “The [dispensational] premillennial position sees no obligation to make distinctly Christian laws.” [5]

Tom Sine offers a startling example of the effect “prophetic inevitability” can have on some people:

“Do you realize if we start feeding hungry people things won’t get worse, and if things don’t get worse, Jesus won’t come?” interrupted a coed during a Futures Inter-term I recently conducted at a northwest Christian college. Her tone of voice and her serious expression revealed she was utterly sincere. And unfortunately I have discovered the coed’s question doesn’t reflect an isolated viewpoint. Rather, it betrays a widespread misunderstanding of biblical eschatology … that seems to permeate much contemporary Christian consciousness. I believe this misunderstanding of God’s intentions for the human future is seriously undermining the effectiveness of the people of God in carrying out his mission in a world of need…. The response of the (student) … reflects what I call the Great Escape View of the future. So much of the popular prophetic literature has focused our attention morbidly on the dire, the dreadful, and the destruction of all that is.” [6]

Can you imagine what would have happened to the early church if this type of thinking had been promoted after the murders of Stephen at the hand of the soon-to-be apostle Paul (Acts 7:54–60), James the brother of John at the hand of Herod (Acts 12:1–3), the martyred saints in Revelation prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 just as Jesus had predicted (Matt. 24:1-34):

“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me [John], ‘These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:9–11; see 1:9; 2:10; 7:13–14).

Wars and Rumors of Wars

A verse-by-verse study of Matthew 24:1-34 that shows that Jesus was not desceribing the end of the world but the judgment end of that first-century generation culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.Buy Now

Saul was converted on the Damascus Road and Herod was “struck by an angel,” “eaten by worms and breathed his last breath” (12:20–24), Nero committed suicide in AD 68, and the remnants of the Roman Empire are a tourist attraction today.

  1. Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970), 145.[]
  2. An Interview with Hal Lindsey, “The Great Cosmic Countdown: Hal Lindsey on the Future,” Eternity (January 1977), 21.[]
  3. Charles C. Ryrie, The Living End (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1976), 21.[]
  4. John F. MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience: Drawing the Line in a No-Fault, Guilt-Free World (Dallas: Word, 1994), 12.[]
  5. Norman L. Geisler, “A Premillennial View of Law and Government,” Moody Monthly (October 1985), 129.[]
  6. Tom Sine, The Mustard Seed Conspiracy: You Can Make a Difference in Tomorrow’s Troubled World (Waco, TX: Word, 1981), 69.[]

More than Just Conservative (17)

Earthly slavery, as manifested clearly in the history of the Exodus, involves at least three factors: slavery to food, slavery to the past, and slavery to the present. The Hebrews cursed Moses, for he had served them as a deliverer. He had enabled them to cast off the chains of bondage. They looked to the uncertainty that lay before them (the Red Sea) and the chariots behind them, and they wailed. They had lost what they regarded as external security in Egypt, a welfare State existence, and they resented Moses’ leadership.[1]

For some two hundred years, believers have been developing a dismissive view of the Old Testament law. “Oh, that’s from the Old Testament, and we don’t need to bother with that anymore,” is largely   the usual attitude in evangelical circles.

But we’ve thrown the baby out with the bath-water. There are aspects of both continuity and discontinuity in relation to God’s law from the Old Testament, which the Bible explains or infers. The Ten Commandments remain eternally, but the focus of enforcement of the Fourth Commandment (dealing with the Sabbath) has shifted to the individual:

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind (Ro.14:5).

This is a very important Biblical principle. It has been the basis of the West’s liberties, which are now in decline. It means that every person is responsible to God for their actions.

You want to go overseas, go to university, get married or start a business? No problem. It’s your life. It may or may not be a mistake, but it is your responsibility. And it has been this Biblical culture of individual responsibility (with the associated opportunities and risks), which has been at the root of the West’s rapid development in the last 300 years.

People should remember this fact: you can’t replace something with nothing. Yes, there are aspects of Old Testament law (such as the animal sacrifices, the food laws, the seed laws and the land laws) which are fulfilled in the New Testament, because the focus today geographically is not a tiny piece of land in the Middle East, but on “…all the nations…” (Mat.28:19). God’s law is His plan for every nation.

But when people replace the Bible’s overall law and culture, there is always a price they’ll pay. If you refuse individual responsibility, someone else will have to take it up for you, and in the modern era, that has generally been the State. And the State’s representative has generally been an inefficient, self-serving, tax-funded bureaucracy.

Think of law-enforcement in the United States. It began with local police, then early in the twentieth century, they added the FBI. Its 2011 budget? $7.9 billion. Then in the 1940’s the CIA came along to supposedly deal with matters of international security, and since 2001, the US has a Department of Homeland Security, and a Transport Safety Authority.

Is US law-enforcement any better now? It’s hard to believe. Bureaucratic institutions tend to grow not because of need, but because it’s a matter of status. The leaders want the power and prestige (and money) that comes with leading a growing organisation. So they say to their political superiors, “Give us more!”

Efficiency? Irrelevant. Ethics and justice? Forget it.

Because individual liberty and responsibility are largely ignored, massive, inefficient and sometimes corrupt bureaucracies have to keep finding justifications for their existence. And they do, even if they have to invent them. And what seems to frequently happen? The innocent suffer abuse.

Can the innocent do anything about it? Mostly, no. How things have changed. Today, if your home is targeted by a SWAT team for a drug bust in the US, you could easily be killed. Law enforcement agencies can be effectively above the law. As Will Grigg writes,

The Milwaukee Police Department holds down the number two spot in the national police brutality rankings. Its distinguished contributions in the field of state-sponsored crime include a lengthy and growing list of suspicious deaths of people in police custody.[2]

Furthermore, plausible allegations about both the FBI and the CIA have been made, linking them to many assassinations, including that of President Kennedy in 1963, and his brother Robert in 1968. But you thought it was the “land of the free and the home of the brave?” It’s time to wake up to how things have deteriorated.

When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, they just left; there were no border restrictions. When Joseph and Mary decided at God’s direction to flee Israel to evade Herod, they simply got up in the night and left for Egypt (Mat.2:13-15).

What if you had to do the same thing? Got a passport? Got a permit? And what if you decided to go on a Friday night? Well, you would have to wait till the relevant office opened on Monday. Sorry about that.

And what if the bureaucrat essential for your approval takes exception to you? That’s why all restrictions on international movement (including passports) are generally oppressive in nature; the Berlin wall was not built with a Biblical world-view in mind. When a nation declares to its people, “you have to have our permission to leave,” they are saying in effect, “you are our slaves.” This was the attitude of many Eastern Bloc countries up until about 1990, and is reminiscent of the oppression of the Israelites under Pharoah.

A church acquaintance who immigrated from South Africa recently told me he had to pay $80,000 to come to Australia with his wife.

Something else: what if I have been visiting the south of France, and return to Australia with a few bottles of champagne, along with some Belgian chocolate, and some vintage, valuable French pistols that I’m fond of?

Anything wrong with that? Biblically, no, but according to the present laws, it would probably raise major issues with the Customs Department, and I wouldn’t be let out of the airport.  The guns could be confiscated. After all, I could be about to commit a crime!

 The irony is, that a well-armed populace of law-abiding citizens has a very great defence against criminals, gangs, and those who wish to do harm to the citizen base. An unarmed public, on the other hand, can do virtually nothing to defend themselves.[3]

This goes to the heart of Biblical liberty. The Bible never focuses on what I might do with whatever is in my hands, as a potential criminal; every person is a potential criminal. It deals only with what I have done. The difference is very important in how people are treated before the law.

In Australia, we have seven State and Federal Education Departments. Why?

Well, we ignored the fact that the Bible makes parents responsible for education, and so we handed that task to the State, and the results have been horrific. Not only is it costing the taxpayer $15,000 in 2020 to send a child to a State school, but we’ve put the people with a vested interest in the Department’s perpetuation in charge.

Thus education (as in Nazi Germany) is subject to political control, the foxes are in charge of the hen-house, and parents had better not sneeze without Departmental permission. They could be prosecuted for taking responsibility for their children’s education. What a bizarre perversion of God’s justice.

In a free Biblical society, you can generally do as you wish, within Biblical boundaries. It represents a level of libertarianism we would be shocked by today. But in our present evil “nanny-state” environment, the key thing is to get permission first, even for something totally innocuous like buying a gun. Even advertising at sporting events, and labelling on cigarette packets are State regulated. Thus decision-making processes are shifted from individuals and families to the State, something God never intended.

And the worst of it? The Church accepts it.

When Israel turned from God and wanted a king “…like all the nations” (I Sam.8:5), God made it clear that “they have rejected Me from being king over them” (v.7), and that there would be consequences (v.10-18).

And what were some of these? A high tax rate of 10%, property confiscation, a general expansion of government control, and State sponsored murder (see I Sam.22:16-23).

We in the West have shown we are no different to Israel in Saul’s day. There have been, and there will be painful consequences for our poor and evil choices: massive, overbearing bureaucracies, social oppression by government and high tax rates in place of godly freedom and responsibility: God’s just judgments on us for running back to the slavery of Egypt.

But all this can change. It must change, if the West is to have a future of blessing and prosperity under God.

John the Baptist was a Biblical prophet: a radical in the Biblical tradition. He preached that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees…” (Mat.3:10).  We need his solution today.

Conclusion:

Individuals, families and churches must begin the long religious and cultural walk out of Egypt, to the promised land of God’s glorious purpose.

This may take us generations to accomplish, just as it took us generations to get to the bad state we’re in. The time is not the issue, the issue is that we start to move. And the first and simplest place to begin to act in obedience to God, is in taking responsibility for our children’s education.

It’s time to move, and it begins with obedience and repentance on the part of God’s people. Are you ready?

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery (Gal.5:1).

 

 

[1] Gary North, “Moses and Pharoah,” 1986, p.256.

[2] Will Grigg, “Meet Ed Flynn – Milwaukee Crime Lord, Citizen Disarmament Advocate,” Lew Rockwell’s website, 1/3/2013.

[3]Anthony Gucciardi, “A Brief and Bloody History of Gun Control,” (courtesy of Lew Rockwell’s website,) 23/2/2013.

 

Restoring the Foundation of Civilization: God’s Government or Chaos

Jul 24, 2020 by Gary DeMar

The following is from the Introduction to my new book Restoring the Foundation of Civilization: God’s Government or Chaos that should be available in late August or early September of 2020.

There are many Christians who will not participate in politics because they believe (or have been taught to believe) that politics is outside the realm of what constitutes a Christian worldview. “Politics is dirty,” “Jesus didn’t get mixed up in politics,” “Politics is about law, and Christianity is about grace,” “Government is not our savior; Jesus is,” “Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world,” “The Christian’s only task is to preach the gospel.” [1]

 

Myths Lies and Half Truths

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths takes a close look at God’s Word and applies it to erroneous misinterpretations of the Bible that have resulted in a virtual shut-down of the church’s full-orbed mission in the world (Acts 20:27). Due to these mistaken interpretations and applications of popular Bible texts to contemporary issues, the Christian faith is being thrown out and trampled under foot by men (Matt. 5:13).

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The thing of it is, a biblical worldview includes politics, the civil dimension of biblical government. The British poet and literary critic T. S. Eliot (1888–1965) makes the point better than I can:

Yet there is an aspect in which we can see a religion as the whole way of life of a people, from birth to the grave, from morning to night and even in sleep, and that way of life is also its culture…. It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe have—until recently—been rooted. It is against a background of Christianity that all our thought has significance. An individual European may not believe that the Christian Faith is true, and yet what he says, and makes, and does, will all spring out of his heritage of Christian culture and depend upon that culture for its meaning…. If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. [2]

The entire Bible speaks about the subjects of governments and politics just like it speaks about everything else. Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920), Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Professor of Theology at the Free University of Amsterdam and editor of the daily newspaper The Standard, summarized this truth with these words: “[N]o single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: “Mine!’” [3]

If holiness means “Thou Shalt not steal” for you and me, then it also means the same thing for you and me if we decide to become a civil official. Politics, actually “civil government,” is not morally neutral territory just like self-, family, and church governments are not morally neutral. If we follow the reasoning of some Christians, we can’t speak out against a civil minister when he violates his oath to uphold the Constitution and violates some biblical law, for example, the specific law against man-stealing. Would we remain silent and passive with a husband who violates his marriage oath or a minister of the gospel who violates his ordination vows? Of course, we would not. There are procedures to deal with these violations. The same is true in the civil realm. It includes organizing people to oppose civil oath violators to remove them from office.

So, if thieves break into your home and burn it down, what should you do? What if they beat and rape your wife and steal all your stuff? If the chief of police and the mayor don’t do anything about it, are these non-involved Christians telling their fellow-Christians that they should not protest but just take the persecution “for righteousness’ sake”? Would he be considered “proud,” “pompous” and a “power monger” to rally his neighbors to vote the mayor out of office in the next election? According to God’s Word, the civil magistrate has the power of the sword (Rom. 13:1–4). Without limits on the civil minister’s authority and power, that sword can do a lot of harm to a lot of people.

I suppose as Christians like Corrie ten Boom (1893–1983) and her family were being dragged off to a concentration camp for helping Jews escape from the Nazis, their fellow-Christians should have told them, “This is what you get for not being willing to be oppressed and disenfranchised for righteousness’ sake. You should have made peace with the Nazis not protest against them. Persecution is the Christian’s lot in life.”

If Christians had been involved in civil government decades before and understood its limitations and their responsibility to speak out against oppression, Germany would never have had an Adolf Hitler. In 19th-century Germany, a distinction was made between the realm of public policy managed by the State and the domain of private morality under the province of the gospel. Religion was the sphere of the inner personal life, while things public came under the jurisdiction of the “worldly powers.” Redemption was fully the province of the church while the civil sphere was solely the province of the State. “Religion was a private matter that concerned itself with the personal and moral development of the individual. The external order—nature, scientific knowledge, statecraft—operated on the basis of its own internal logic and discernable laws.” [4]

Christians were told that the church’s sole concern was the spiritual life of the believer. “The Erlangen church historian Hermann Jorda declared in 1917 that the state, the natural order of God, followed its own autonomous laws while the kingdom of God was concerned with the soul and operated separately on the basis of the morality of the gospel.” [5] Sound familiar? It’s what many Christians believe and practice.

  1. See my book Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2010).[]
  2. T.S. Eliot, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1949), 29, 126.[]
  3. Abraham Kuyper, “Sphere Sovereignty” (1880) in James D. Bratt, ed., Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 488.[]
  4. Richard V. Pierard, “Why Did Protestants Welcome Hitler?,” Fides et Historia, X:2 (North Newton, KS: The Conference on Faith and History), (Spring 1978), 13.[]
  5. Pierard, “Why Did Protestants Welcome Hitler?,” 14.[]