The Almighty Creator of all things, in order to be reconciled to the lost jewel of that creation, once sloughed off the boons of His divinity, and miraculously tabernacled himself into a carnal existence to become like mankind in all things, in order to redeem mankind, the pride of the universe, from their self-willed machinations and the spiritual and civil bondage into which those machinations led them. The Son of God, whose divine existence had not even been limited to the cosmological jurisdiction of Space-Time, humbled himself to become the Son of Man and subjected himself to navigate the carnal minutiae surrounding authoritative socio-political jurisdictions, in order to conquer them in the servile gambit of sacrifice, never compromising his role as the mortified God-man and bondservant-King.
This event, foretold by thousands of years of prophecy, was not met without the tell-tale premeditated murder contingent on the corruption inherent to human authority. Whenever God sends a great liberator into the world’s great empires, their great emperors indiscriminately resort to child sacrifice, murdering newborns to secure their own reign over the people. Jewish history intimates that Nimrod desired the death of Abraham who was predicted to challenge his authority and redeem souls to be freemen under God. Abraham forsakes the benefits of nobility, liberates his countrymen, and goes from kingdom to kingdom, rescuing others from human bondage. One of the Egyptian Pharaohs (maybe Ramses II or, more likely, Thutmose III) had his reign secured as an infant when his father attempted to drown every newborn child in Egypt. Saved from this fate, Moses abandons the wealth and power owed to him through adoption into Pharaoh’s house, and redeems the Israelites from their corvee citizenship under Egypt’s civil authority. Consistent with the nature of political power, the Massacre of the Innocents, commanded by Herod the Great, was meant to undo the incarnation of Israel’s veritable King, whose parents escaped Herod’s decree by fleeing to Egypt, ironically. That King did grow up to forsake the material and political benefits of royalty in order to lead the Israelites, and all of mankind, out from the world systems that necessitate human rulers. The incarnation of Jesus is the death knell to all claimants to human civil authority.
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1-7)
For the 25th anniversary of the reign of Caesar Augustus, Joseph and Mary were recalled by a dream to Bethlehem in time for the celebrations honoring the emperor of Rome by naming him the Father of the Country or Pater Patriae, and to enroll themselves in the special census that was decreed for the event. The tax in question was a head or poll tax assessed against each male which also acted as a draft record. This sort of fealty to Commander-in-Chiefs would later be proscribed by Christ who instructs us to “call no man Father,” forbidding His followers from making men our rulers, providers, and protectors (roles belonging to our natural fathers) by subjecting ourselves to the administrations of human civil government.
“The year 2 B.C. marked the 25th anniversary of Caesar Augustus’s rule and the 750th anniversary of the founding of Rome. Huge celebrations were planned. The whole empire was at peace. The doors of the temple of Janus were closed for only the third time in Roman history. To honor their emperor, the people were to rise as one and name him pater patriae, or Father of the Country. This enrollment, described in the Book of Luke, which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, has always been a mystery since no regular census occurred at this time. But the pater patriae enrollment fits perfectly.” (The Star of Bethlehem by Crag Chester, Imprimis D 96 Hillsdale College)
Common to our privileged ideas about wealth and poverty, it is easy to assume that only the poorest persons would give birth in a manger attached to an inn. However, common to the Hebrew lifestyle, especially during the customs during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), the people would be prepared for lodgings with their own temporary and nomadic shelters or tabernacles (sukkah) commonly used to dwell in the fields for the final harvest of the agricultural year and to commemorate the Israelites going into the wilderness during the Exodus to be free souls under God after He had harvested them from the fields of Egypt, separating them from its tares. Contrasted against this culture of subsistence and self-reliance, only the wealthy and privileged would even consider the luxury of going to an inn for lodging and only the most prestigious inns would have a separate structure in which to house animals. These notions correspond to the idea that Jesus Christ was born to a wealthy family from a regal lineage, making him the rightful king of Judea by birthright. It is important to recognize that there is a legitimately human kingship to Christ’s incarnation in order to understand that He has a legitimately human kingdom whose nature contrasts and is the antidote to that of every other kingdom. If Jesus has a divine and lawful right to rule Judea, but charitably gives up his estate in order to sustain the people rather than live at their expense by taxation, then He is a different kind of king than those of the world.
“He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” (Luke 1:53)
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)
When Christ began his ministry to redeem his Judean Kingdom from centuries of usurpation by human kings, the Sanhedrin and its subjugation to the Pax Romana, he was sure to be baptized into the Kingdom of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This baptism reflects a publicly visible confirmation of citizenship into His own free society, to the exclusion of all other kingdoms of this world, especially the one provided by Herod Antipas, brother to Archelaus. Herod commissioned his own ceremony of baptism for anyone who desired to be enrolled into his New Deal of Corban which promised government benefits in exchange for fealty and taxation, making him the false god over his subject citizens. Christ’s refusal to fraternize with the nations of this world by subjecting His reign to them is the most basic, fundamental aspect of what we call Christianity. Understanding the sin of serving magistrates and rendering unto “Caesar” that which is God’s, through applying for social welfare or by making compacts, contracts, and covenants with them, shows us that Christ chose to rather be the savior of the people and see them baptized into His Kingdom rather than into the New World Order provided by Rome. The Pharisees, however, had no scruples against partaking in the economic prosperity, political influence, or the religious freedom provided by the Roman “Benefactors who exercised authority” over the people.
These Pharisees (and Scribes), in their corruption, were eager to accumulate personal wealth through Corban, temple taxes and money-changing. This sort of perversion of Moses’ Seat inspired our servant-king to ceremoniously fire the federal employees of the Temple of Jerusalem, terminating their lucrative positions and taking the Kingdom away from them, to give it to those servant ministers who would produce its fruits. Since David, it was the exclusive right of the King of Jerusalem to dismiss the porters of the temple but the right of the people to elect ones who would best serve them. When He turns over the tables of the moneychangers to the people with his regal string whip, Christ is turning over this corrupted government over to those who would remain servants of the people. Because the Law of God was to be written on their hearts and minds, they were prevented from aspiring to become legislators, congressmen, and heads of State, thereby securing their religion to remain pure and undefiled.
After removing them from their lucrative income and positions of financial power, the embittered and acrimonious religious leaders of Judea would then appeal to the magistrate of Rome to conspire with them to commit regicide against Christ and thereby squash his growing Kingdom. Christ could have appealed to Rome himself to investigate his legitimate claim to the throne of Judea, and that imperialist Empire undoubtedly would have found his claim to the throne to be true and supportable, but this would have irresponsibly placed whatever political and jurisdictional victory that he would have won under the dominion of the authority-exercising Benefactors to which he had made his appeal. History attests to this fact, as exampled by the Hasmoneans, who were installed and backed by Rome at the insistence of the Pharisees, giving the Roman Empire a vested political interest over the Jews. As we know, Christ chose not to go the way of the pagan, or the way Israel did all throughout their own history, exchanging their freedoms and responsibilities for the lethargic outsourcing of those things, which is contingent on captivity. Rather, He subjected himself to the “higher power” of God and thus fulfilled the perfect law of liberty. He was unjustly put to death, both as an innocent man and as the rightful King of Judea and of His Creation. But, in the gambit of self-sacrifice, he secured to himself all men who would obey his commandments and seek to become free souls under God, thereby winning for all of his Ambassadors the Kingdom for which they are anticipating.
It is fundamental to recognize that Jesus is the incarnate God of the Universe, because only God has a prior right to rule mankind and be its King. All other rulers, Scripture attests, are false gods and a righteous people do not make covenants with them, nor do they serve them as their masters, nor belong to their kingdoms.
“In an old Hebrew vocabulary, by William Robertson of Edinburgh, Eloah is rendered God; while some, it is said ‘not without ground, interpret it to signify properly a judge (from Alah to swear,) because it belongs to a judge by his office to bind others by oaths; and hence the name is attributed to God; as the greatest and most glorious judge of all the world; thus Ps. 82: 1. Elohim (God) judgeth among the Elohim (gods or judges), who are called gods, i. e. judges because they represent God upon earth, as his deputed ministers and officers among men…”
“Meaning of Elohim and Theos…inferred that the being or beings referred to by that name, were supposed to possess qualities and attributes which led their votaries or dependents to worship and revere them. Hence, he says, it was applied to kings, magistrates, judges, and others to whom reverence is shown, and which are regarded as representatives of the Deity upon earth…”
“The Jewish grammarians, conceiving that the word Elohim is used in Scripture for men in power and authority, particularly for judges, connect this sense with the root Alah to swear, by observing that it is the particular office and prerogative of judges and magistrates to administer oaths. This power they make the first principle of judicature or magistracy… Hence they say Elohim signified judges or magistrates generally, and by pre-eminence God; as the first of all judges, to whom all other judges are subordinate, and from whom they derive their authority…”
Elohim: “…appears to be attributed in a lower sense to angels, &c. — Kings who have greater power than their subjects: magistrates who have greater power than those who come before them to obtain decision of their suits and application of the laws; and princes or men of rank, whether in office or not, who possess power and influence by their wealth”. (The Proper Mode of Rendering the Word God in translating the Sacred Scriptures into the Chinese Language, Walter Henry Medhurs, the Mission Press 1848)
“It (Elohim) should seem to be second in dignity only to the name Jehovah: — as that name imports the essential being of the Divinity, so Elohim seems to import the power inherent in Deity ; or the manifestation of that power on its relative subjects.” (Calmet’s Dictionary of the Bible, edited by Charles Taylor, Vol. I. page 484)
The only person fit to rule mankind is its Creator. The Bible truth is that the Creator sought to humanize himself in order to share in the temptations and plight of all men and be an example to them of a better way to live, then to sacrifice himself for them and redeem them unto His Kingdom. To be adopted into Christ’s Kingdom means to forsake all other kingdoms, and to become a royal priesthood that serves each other through a generous love that sets them free from the bondage of this world, teaching them to forsake the rudiments of the tree that bears no good fruit. The Gospel necessarily plucks men from these jurisdictions of man that lead to damnation and places them in the jurisdiction of God that leads to life.
It is the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and work of Christ that make it possible for those who endeavor to become free men to have a living and reigning king to justify seeking the kingdom of liberty that he provided. It is for this reason why his incarnation serves as one of the two theological principles that warrants and demands our action and message.