Brothers & sisters in Christ, in this time it is important for those walking in the way of Christ to understand how we are to respond worldly power & authority, and the evil that goes with it. If one inhales the Holy Spirit & how it has moved godly people through the ages, there is quite a consistent manner of challenging power structures. On the flip side, there are intelligent people with lots of bright creative ideas, that entirely miss things. For instance, an author who noticed Christ condemned the Sadducees but not the Zealots; then wrote an entire book based on his theory that Christ was a militant guerilla fighter against Rome’s pagan Imperium. He entirely misses 75% of Christ’s message & actions which were non-violent & promoted spiritual peace. Amazingly, with eyes people do not see. When I get upset that people function as establishment media echo chambers, oblivious to the truth, I remind myself that even the Israelites about 2500 yrs. ago while in captivity were trusting in a lie.(A) All the nations have been disobedient, “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” (B)
NEVER TOO LATE FOR HOPE & TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT. There was a time in the nation of Israel’s history that their land was immersed in evil–God described it as totally polluted (C) and yet God Almighty, the God of love & mercy, had still not forsaken them.(D) It is never too late to do the right thing. Now just what is the right thing to do?? In order to answer that, permit me to lay a foundation, which may seem basic to some, but may be partly new to other readers.
FIRST BIBLICAL VIEW. In the Biblical worldview there are different levels (or perspectives) to World power. One is that Satan was allowed to be the god of this world(E); all the kings conspire with him against God,(F) and behind these kings are their controllers (“benefactors”-giving money, such as King Obama & Soros his benefactor)(G)…therefore the whole world lies in wickedness. (H) Into this evil construct, came a Savior, Yahshua, the messiah. He did not challenge the concept that Satan had all the World’s kingdoms.(I) and he told an audience at Nazareth he was not only here to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah where the captives’ release is proclaimed and the oppressed are set free, but that in some way it had already been fulfilled!(J) Already fulfulled?? When Yahshua began his work against that Satanic power structure, he began delivering the area of evil spirits & demons. Non-biblical records show that those in power were highly agitated that he was getting rid of demons. When he sent a message to King Herod, he said to tell him he was delivering the land of demons! (K) (Reminds me of his mother Mary’s song, where she sings of God, “He has put down (cast down) the mighty ones from their thrones.”(L) The religious leaders, alarmed at the how he got rid of evil spirits, accused Yahshua of being Beelzebub. But Christ said, what had happened is that he had bound the strong man (Satan) in order to cast out evil spirits.(M)
SECOND BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE. “For the Lord (YHWH) is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us.”(N) (Praise His Holy name!) In fact God reigns over all. There is no power given that has not been delegated or permitted by God. For instance, Pilate had no authority “unless it had been given you from above.”(JN 19:11) He is in control of men’s souls– and “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (for the redemption of their soul is precious…)”(O) In other words, God has permitted for a time for evil to have its way, but He still maintains control over the eternal fate of individual souls, & the fate of nations. And so we are moving closer to understanding that ultimately God wanted to be Lord/King over His creation…so whether it was Israel having a king or a pagan nation…it was all the same, both were created by God’s conditional will to allow man to have what he chose, knowing full well that He himself would make a better king. And that is what Christ restored—“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth[demons!];” (P) The Lord alone is truly king.(Q) It never ceases to amaze me that many books have been written on whether Christ opposed or approved of Rome? Of course Christ knew it was an evil power structure. But you don’t fight evil with greater evil. You have to transform evil one heart at a time.
Christ told Pilate that his kingdom was not of this World, if it was, then his subjects would fight!(R) He left off saying that God deposes kings and sets up kings.(S) In fact the Word of God states that God set up & deposed the empires of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. (T) And each of these rulers have had a responsibility before God that they will answer to Him about how they took care of their people. While people think they had it good in life, they will actually have a harsher judgment.
CHRIST’S MODEL FOR CONFRONTING POWER STRUCTURES. We have already read how Yahshua recognized that our principal fight is not with fleshly power structures but the evil spirits & fallen angels behind these worldly power structures. Now we need to understand the context of Yahshua’s time. Rome’s Imperium (power) was the power of a brutal pagan colonial ruler subjugating the Jewish nation. When Christ confronted elements of this pagan power–for instance, Zacchaeus (U) who was a rich tax collector at the lucrative border post between Judea & Perea…he transformed his heart rather than advocating destruction of the system. The same with the Roman Centurion, and a Pharisee.
And this gives a powerful example of what the Bible consistently shows…that God can work through any system, and the most important pt. is that the individuals within a system acknowledge him. When pagan rulers acknowledged Him, (for instance, Nebuchadnezzar & His servant Daniel), He was able to work with those systems. Here’s another example. The Anabaptist structure is to functionally create a mini-Kingdom within the context of the World. The Hutterites decided to go fully communal (no private ownership–true communism), while the Amish & some Mennonite communities went semi-communal (that is private ownership where resources of the community are pooled when needed). Both structures work, when godly people are working them. Neither system works when ungodly people operate them. Now does it make some sense that the Prophet Jeremiah told godly people to seek the good of the pagan city they lived in?(V) One more example, the Oneida Indian tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their culture had the elderly wise women choose the chiefs. The tribe originally did not have personal ownership, but all was shared and when you weren’t using it, someone else could. Most of the tribe became Christians before the American Revolution. Could God use a power structure (which gave lots of liberty) like theirs even though it was created prior to conversion?…indeed. The key is to have wise godly people in positions of responsibility. Jonah was to get Nineveh (a San Francisco of its time) to repent. His job was not to change the structure, but to turn it to God.
WHAT IS BEING SAID?? This message is saying that people of faith challenged the power structures of their time by consistently confronting them with the truth about their purpose (to promote peace & justice & the welfare of their people) and that ultimately govt. power existed because God permitted it. They were not trying to dismantle them by armed revolution–but transforming them by the loving transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Do we have an example from history of a community committed to being subject “to no man but only God”? That was the motto of the Masada community under Ari who withstood the Roman legion for a long time. They were willing to die for their faith, but their battle was not to destroy Rome, but to have the freedom to serve God. An example of someone who set out to transform a system –not destroy it– was MLK. I’d say he was successful. So put away your picture of Jesus packing an AK-47. Christ consistently forbid what was inconsistent with love. He spoke against taking human life, anger, retaliation, greed, and a spirit of fault finding. He said his disciples could be identified by the love they displayed. Matthew Chapters 5-6-7, which is Christ’s sermon on the Mount, could not be clearer, and is so powerful, it is worth meditating on. Who inherit the earth? the Meek. Who are the sons of God? the peacemakers. It all has to be understood spiritually. He said, “If my kingdom were of this world, my people would fight.” We are called to transform, not destroy.
(A) JER 29:31 (B) ROM 11:32 (C) HOS 9:3-4, & AMOS 7:17b (D) JER 29:11-14 (E) 2 COR 4:4 (F) PS 2:2 (G) LK 22:24 (H) 1 JN 5:19 (I) LK 4:5-8 (J) LK 4:16-21, vs 21 is where he says, “fulfilled” (K) LK 13:31-32 (L) LK 1:52 (M) MK 3:22-27 & LK 11:19-20 (N) ISA 33:22 (O) PS 49:6-8 (P) PHIL 2:9-10 (Q) PS 96:10, 117 (R) JN 18:36 (S) DAN 2:20-23 (T) These references are too many but are found in GEN 47, ISA 10,37, & 44; DAN 4, & JER 25 & 27 (U) LK 19 (V) JER 13:3