After having defined the idea of a “gospel” as would have been readily understood by both the believers in the kingdoms of the world and the believers in the Kingdom of God, and having contrasted those two gospels against each other, it becomes necessary to express an important implication concerning the biographical account of Christ: The context of His teachings, and general understanding of His listeners is that all relevant parties are aware that the premise of Jesus’ words and intentions are inherently political, almost always referring to the baseline of seeking God’s kingdom to the exclusion of all other kingdoms. These teachings are moral in that they are contingent upon God’s constitutional Law, and they are behavioral in that they refer to the conduct of Heaven’s civil citizens exclusively. Since God is the god of freemen, those hearing Christ’s words understood that His wisdom is inherently wed to living and operating in a free society. Therefore, they are a competitive alternative to the legally binding statutes of false gods and false christs, and incompatible with the citizens of their kingdoms. Two kinds of gods. Two kinds of christs. Two kinds of laws. Two distinct, separate kingdoms.
Concerning time, energy, and attention span, it would not be prudent to express here all of Christ’s teachings in the context of the Gospel of the Kingdom. However, it would be common sense to give a platform for at least some of His sermon at Eremos to shed light on the subject. Especially considering how soon it occurred after Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. Although He sits down with the intention to teach His disciples, who are the servant-ministers appointed to the government of God, the multitude of followers, most of whom are baptized into God’s Kingdom as its citizenry, are allowed to listen in on the conversation:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:3-6)
The phrase “poor in spirit” is often described as the essence of humility, where a “beggarly” person is not ashamed to ask for help, redemption, or deliverance. In this case, the poor in spirit beg for God’s provision, starting with salvation from the kingdoms of the world, into the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who are not poor in spirit, alternatively, are too proud to repent and therefore remain in the care of their false gods. Translated from Aramaic, the phrase is a fairly loaded idiom that is not a reference to people in poverty (as if only poor people can inherit the Kingdom of God) but is “miskaneh brooh” which means “one who voluntarily gives up all material things for a spiritual benefit.”
For the ministers, this refers to a vow of poverty, where they are instructed to give up all of their private estates, inheritance, and property to better sustain the congregations of the Lord. Any who wanted to be Christ’s disciple, but did not do this, was turned away or otherwise faced consequences. Like the Levites, who were also consecrated to God, they were to thereafter be sustained only by the freewill offerings of the people, based on their character and service. As the Assembly of God, they were set apart from the congregations of families, as a body politic, in order to serve them by redistributing their charity in daily ministration, and to network them together in an adhocratic free society. Rather than being served by preying upon the citizens and turning them into bread for their bellies by making them tribute, they chose rather to hunger for righteousness and to serve instead. This giving up of their personal estates in order to shy from the temptation of hoarding wealth and becoming “lords” over the people reflects the example of Jesus who was born a wealthy member of the royal family as the rightful King of Judea, but gave up His material birthright in order to establish a Kingdom through service for a spiritual benefit. This is to contrast against the “ministers” of the world who call themselves Benefactors (through socialism) but exercise authority (through civil institutions). They are a body politic that exists top-down and compels offerings from people in bondage through taxation, rather than by freewill offerings. Emphatically, they are neither “meek” nor humble in any meaningful way, and they are the primary reason that the people “mourn.”
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:1-6)
Here is a warning against those who are not meek, who do not mourn, and are not poor in spirit. For the multitude of those becoming citizens of God’s Kingdom, being “poor in spirit” would imply the opposite sort of character that those deserving civil bondage exhibit. Whereas people who claim that Jesus Christ as their king must live by charity and God’s miraculous providence, those who claim to have “no King but Caesar” are moreso entitled to their neighbor’s goods through taxation, by being hungry and thirsty for government benefits ranging from public education to social security to the provision of military and police forces, to civil infrastructure and social order. Such people are not meek, and nor do they mourn. In fact, they are oppressive and are the cause of the mournings of the innocent. They follow their appetites and not the Spirit of God, finding themselves ensnared and trapped in the consequences for their unrighteousness They do not receive what they need because they “ask amiss” to socialist Benefactors who appeal to their lusts with entitlements.
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:7-9)
In order to contrast against the governments raised up by hard-hearted and unmerciful sinners, the ministers of God’s government must be quick to promote mercy. Worldly politicians necessarily omit the weightier matters, including law, judgment, mercy, and faith. They do this by forcing the letter of the law, and prescribing impersonal, heavy legislative burdens over the people, without much room for forgiveness for petty crime, or ignorance of the law, or extenuating circumstance. Rather, it is in their selfish interest to pervert justice and oppress the people for their financial gain. Defense attorneys are criminally expensive, public defenders are empathically crippled by guaranteed income, and juries are filled with strangers stimulated by news of scandal, rather than actual peers sincerely seeking a fair judgment. The ministers of God’s government are pure in heart because they are quick to seek the heart of God in navigating the spirit of His Law, encouraging the people to judge the guilty, but forgive the repentant. This is the essence of seeking peace, tempering God’s justice with His mercy. In the past, God’s people even had, through God’s instruction, created a system of appeals courts which could acquit those who did not receive fair trials within their own local congregations.
For the people making up the multitude, an expression of mercy is fundamental to their repentance. The reason why many sinners remain in bondage is because they do not forgive their debtors and so do not receive forgiveness from God. Paying into a system of socialist benefits gives sinners a sense of entitlement to receive what they feel they are owed from the system. In a sense, they are owed but social security was not established to provide for the people. It was invented to ensnare them to become collateral for collective debt at each other’s expense. Because the debt is collective, their sense of entitlement can only ever be for their neighbor’s goods through a bankrupt government. If they do not forgive what they think they are owed, they will never relinquish the claim for benefits, and they will never inherit the Kingdom of God which operates by hope that their neighbor will voluntarily provide for them when they need it, and not by the entitlements of social contracts. This topic is inherently related to the idea of being pure in heart. The greek word used for pure here is katharos and is the same word used in James 1:27:
Simply put, purity means free from pollution. Politically, it means free from idolatry, adultery, covetousness, or any other sin that enables one to go under the power of human rulers and their civil societies. Pure religion is private religion, and is the capitalist’s injunction to perform the weightier matters, be a voice for the voiceless, and to care for the poor and needy without relying on the institutions of worldly governments which inherently “make the word of God to none effect” in relying on authoritarian policies and socialist funds. That reality is more aptly called “public religion“, as it relates to “public property” and “public funds.” This creates a false peace in giving lip-service to the amelioration of social ills like poverty or injustice, but in reality it instigates conflagration within society by relying on taxation and an anaerobic, bureaucratic kakistocracy. Those who walk with God as His children seek real peace through personal responsibility, and actually love their neighbor as themselves in purity, libera res publica.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)
Persecution is the primary recompense for political sanctification. Here the words of Christ to His disciples are not just meant to be encouragement for times of opposition, but are also prophetic, expressing that one must be willing to lose everything in order to establish a free society. Including one’s reputation. Even one’s life. The historically common prejudice against the prophets are not the only example that Jesus gives. He will go on to lay His own life down for the Kingdom of Heaven under regicide. If rulers cannot tempt or bribe free people through offers of benefits to subject themselves into civil bondage in order to sustain their collapsing, socialist economies, then they will turn to violent intimidation, and conquering imperialism. Like all pagan societies, the Pharisees, Herodians, and Roman magistrates turned into despots when their citizens centralized their greed and covetousness into offices of power. When human resources are lacking and the national debt is unsustainable, it becomes necessary to press-gang the innocent to become civil citizens and therefore tax slaves. The easiest way to do that is to dismantle the social structure that makes their liberty self-sustaining. It was because of the specific roles that the ministers played in the independent Christian society that they were so heavily targeted. As connection points, serving families by redistributing their burnt offerings of freewill charity amongst each other, the pastors were necessary for the success of the Christian society. At some points in history when Christian persecution burned the hottest, so many members of Christ’s body politic were arrested that the prison system of Rome became so full that actual criminals were released to make room for them. This goes to show that free, harmless people are worse for pagan governments than criminal activity. It was Celsus, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, who explicitly
“opposed the ‘sectarian’ tendencies at work in the Christian movement because he saw in Christianity a ‘privatizing’ of religion, the transferal of religious values from the public sphere to a private association.” (Christians as the Romans Saw Them, by Robert Wilken p. 125)
One of the earliest members of Christ’s servant government to receive persecution, Stephen, had been elected by the free people of Heaven as one in seven reputable men to oversee the charitable investments into their national bank. While the contributions had originally been compelled by the porters of the federal bank at the Temple of Jerusalem under the authority of the Pharisees, the entire system had been turned upside down by Christ. There were no more career politicians to make social welfare a means of profit and personal gain. Now it was a system of charity which turned a lucrative political office into a role of service and natural accountability. Because Stephen was receiving the contributions that had been lining the pockets of the Pharisees, he was the first minister to be put to death in their rage and religion of entitlement. Many of the persecutions suffered by the Christian community reflected this tactic, martyring their civil servants, in order to intimidate the people into going back under the power of “Benefactors” who also exercised authority. They were inspired to literally choose between liberty and death.
Of no small importance, Christ’s prediction about false accusations also came to fruition. “For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.“ (Acts 19:37) The Christian ministers were falsely accused of robbing the Temple of Diana. In a literal sense, this action would have been impossible. The temple was an international bank for over a hundred nations within the Pax Romana. As such, it was tantamount to an impregnable fortress with secure vaults full of extensive investments supplied by national economies. As such, it operated as an underwriter for insurance concerning social welfare schemes.
Aelius Aristides described Ephesus as “Asia’s greatest center of trade and banking” (History Of Ephesus) and the temple as “the general bank of Asia” (Aelius Aristides, Orations 23.24) The temple of Artemis was “…the largest and most important bank on the west coast of Asia Minor, was inseparable to the economic structure of the city and indeed the entire province.” (Ephesians and Artemis, Michael Immendörfer)
“In time the temple possessed valuable lands; it controlled the fisheries; its priests were the bankers of its enormous revenues. Because of its strength the people stored there their money for safe-keeping; and it became to the ancient world practically all that the Bank of England is to the modern world.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, by Biblesoft)
There was a sense in which the ministers were robbing the church of Diana, however. By preaching citizenship of God’s Kingdom, and baptizing ex-patriots of worldly governments into their network of liberty, there were less members of the collective surety to make deposits for the welfare schemes maintained by the temple. Fewer sacrifices on its civil altar means that there was less stability in its function as a Federal Reserve, which hurt its ability to make revenue off of its usury. By all accounts persecution occurs, not because Christians have different superstitious rites and beliefs than pagan societies, but because they have a different political and economic way of life than those maintained by human civil government. This is true in every age and under any government, as is even experienced by the abolitionists of the 19th century in the United States:
“In entering upon the great work before us, we are not unmindful that, in its prosecution, we may be called to test our sincerity, even as in a fiery ordeal. It may subject us to insult, outrage, suffering, yea, even death itself. We anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, calumny. Tumults may arise against us. The ungodly and violent, the proud and pharisaical, the ambitious and tyrannical, principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places, may combine to crush us. So they treated the Messiah, whose example we are humbly striving to imitate. If we suffer with him, we know that we shall reign with him. We shall not be so afraid of their terror, neither be troubled. Our confidence is in the Lord Almighty, not in man. Having withdrawn from human protection, what can sustain us but that faith which overcomes the world? We shall not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try us, as though some strange thing had happened unto us; but rejoice, inasmuch as we are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. Wherefore, we commit the keeping of our souls to God, in well-doing, as unto the faithful Creator. For every one that forsakes houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for Christ’s sake, shall receive a hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (William Lloyd Garrison. Declaration of Sentiments Adopted by the Peace Convention. Held in Boston, 1838)
The purpose for the world Empire of the first century to target the ministers of God’s Kingdom was to intimidate its citizens against their anarchist worldview and adhocratic way of life, and to pressure them to sell themselves back into bondage through pagan civil citizenship so that they could be spared from death. However, this tactic only legitimized the Christian Kingdom in minds of the people, and increased the numbers of the ex-patriates being baptized into that citizenship.
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-20)
Despite the common idea that the idiom of salt is linked to a sense of “angry irritation” and “aggressive toughness,” this association was more or less invented a century or two ago to describe a sailor’s reputation for colorful language, mostly crude speech and explosive anger, as if too many consecutive years at sea would allow salt in the air to transform a man’s character into a bitter (likely from PTSD), unpredictable reflection of the sea itself. It is doubtful that the words of Jesus’ sermon are meant to inspire this kind of idea, and should be more so associated with curing meats with pink salt and pickling vegetables in brine to facilitate food preservation and prevent food poisoning; providing nutrition through minerals for their livestock and themselves with salt licks; or even to the importance of natron as a cleaning agent, but also to the delay of decomposition for its properties of desiccation and bacteria hostility in the mummification process.
To be the salt of God’s Creation therefore, is to preserve its elements through the keeping of the Dominion Mandate as stewards of the earth, maintaining capital, equity, and allodium in liberty without rendering unto Caesar that which is God’s through the covenants of legal titles or legal guardianship, and going under the dominion of ruling men for the privileges of civil citizenship. Concentrating one’s powers of choice into human institutions can only ever bring to ruin God’s creation because power corrupts, and tyranny twists the goodness of God’s provision into unusable destruction. Institutions can only ever consume, and Benefactors who exercise authority can only provide benefits by authorizing their forced redistribution from the members of society. God’s stewards, however, produce abundance through a natural, renewing relationship to the earth, making the fruits of their labor over land and livestock last from generation to generation as they are fruitful and multiply to pass on their filial inheritance. More consistently to this passage, the social preservation in question refers to the actions of the ministers who, by example and service, maintain a free society by networking adhocratic congregations together in a daily ministration of freewill charity, making liberty last through their self-sacrifice. If they were to lose this role in society, and cease preserving society, then they have lost their saltiness, will see their society fall apart, and will be trampled under the feet of men by going back into bondage for socialist benefits to survive.
To dichotomize the pairing of salt and light, it is common to associate the latter with a guiding principle, like the guardian angel of Eden whose flaming sword lights the way back home to God’s jurisdiction. This is not altogether inaccurate. However, the purpose of the light is to not just be a passive agent of to be witnessed by the curious, but is an active agent of agitation against the darkness, casting aspersions on the unfruitful deeds of that darkness, removing the shadows of the darkened hearts of men which grant them license to break God’s Law, and illuminating their reprobate minds from their excuses to seek any kingdom other than God’s. We have written about this darkness extensively elsewhere.
The term for “city” in verse fourteen is polis and does not necessarily mean “city” or “town” or location like we refer to it today. Polis is the root word of politeia which means “freedom” and “commonwealth.” A polis may be concentrated to a singular location like, say, a hill, but this reference is an extended metaphor to describe the visibility of the deeds of the ministers to advertise the efficacy of the Kingdom of God. To understand the nature of the Koine word, it is essential to associate it with a juridical community, as in citizenship and a body of citizens. It is “a union of families and villages in a perfect and self-sufficing life by which we mean happy and honourable life.” (Aristotle, Politics Book III, Chapter 9). This city on a hill refers to the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven where families are networked together in adhocratic unions as the formation of their political community. Their society is voluntary, bound together in faith, hope, and charity. Therefore, they are libera res publica, or free from the public administrations of rulers and lawmakers presiding over man-made institutions. Such a society is the direct result of ministers and congregants shining the light of God’s Law into the “world” (an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government) of Rome and societies like Rome.
“Though the notion of the free, or self-governed community, originated in ancient Greece, the Greek polis seems to pose a problem for the modern post-Hobbesian concept of sovereignty. For the latter presupposes that of the State, that is an agency which monopolizes the use of violence, as an instrument by which sovereignty is constituted. Yet, the polis was not a State but rather what the anthropologists call a stateless community. The latter is characterized by the absence of ‘government’, that is of an agency which has separated itself from the rest of social life and which monopolizes the use of violence. In stateless societies the ability to use force is more or less evenly distributed among armed or potentially armed members of the community. Being stateless, then, in what sense can we say that the polis was sovereign? On the practical level the Greek polis had a very limited ability to control and direct legislation. The decentralised nature of Greek society and the absence of coercive apparatuses meant that the laws had to be identical with the customs of the community or else that decisions had to be shared by a wide consensus, which imposed a severe limitation on the ability of the poleis to change their laws or initiate changes in the community.” (Polis: The Journal of the Society for Greek Political Thought, Volume 17, Numbers 1-2, 2000, pp. 2-34 (33) Berent M. Sovereignty: ancient and modern.)
This notion of the polis on the hill being unable to modify its laws, or legislate its members is echoed in Christ’s claim that He did not come to abolish God’s Law, but rather to fulfill it (translated from pleroo meaning “increase, to make full, to fill up,… to cause to abound,… to render full…”) The Law of God is immutable, and as such, is in no need of arbiters in positions of legislative, executive, and judicial power to execute it. The leaders of the polis of God are titular, not lawmakers. They are servant ministers, not authoritarian benefactors. The Law of God is enforced by the personal responsibility of every man, commanded to be their brother’s keepers, and are recognized by the renewed instinct of upright citizens who possess the supernatural Spirit of God for their moral guides. It was the Pharisees who attempted to codify their vain interpretations of God’s Law through positions of civil authority, and this is why surpassing their instituted self-righteousness by seeking God’s righteousness is what allows one entry into the Kingdom of Heaven.
As stated, it is unfortunately imprudent to cover every single doctrine Christ preached here, though the rest of the verses in Matthew 5, along with the next two whole chapters are no less important than the ones we’ve presented. Christ covers a lot of ground with His disciples, using this segue of contrasting God’s natural Law with the civil legalism of men to begin talking about what it means to wash the “inside of the cup“, by being sincerely virtuous and not commit to pretense by trying to stay within the confines of written statutes. He condemns unforgiveness, adultery, and fornication. He warns against the dangers of taking oaths. He proscribes violent retaliation to oppressive governments and the partaking in personal vengeance. He prescribes a model of behavior reflecting the Good Samaritan, treating would-be political enemies as though they were kinsmen, giving no occasion to be accused of contention or impatience. What should be repeated, is that all of Christ’s sermon to His disciples is indicative of the behavior and conduct they are to pass down to the congregations of families, as contrasted against the behavior and conduct practiced by the civil slaves of pagan societies. It is not enough for pagans to try to emulate these traits and then attempt to call themselves Christians. It is necessary that they abandon the core sins that brought them into political bondage in order to adopt these injunctions as they seek the literal Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven in a separate, superior political reality.
Perhaps now it is worthy to shift gears from the philosophy of Christ and to pin down some of the events of His life that demonstrate an application of this philosophy.
“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.” (Mark 6:34-44)
There is a lot to unpack in this miracle, beginning with Christ’s compassion on these lost sheep who had no caretaker or provision after having abandoned the authoritarian caretakers and socialist provision of the world. They were willing to go physically hungry in order to hunger after righteousness taught in Christ’s words. But free people still need to eat, and this is a perfect opportunity to exercise the adhocratic structure of the Kingdom of God. It is a lesson for both the ministers and the multitude.
Firstly, Christ instructs the shepherds to feed the sheep. Although most modern christians falsely twist that idiom to be about sophists expressing Bible commentary from pulpits, its meaning in God’s kingdom refers to a literal service of voluntary welfare in daily ministration. The ministers in this account, who have nothing left with which to feed the multitude after giving up everything to follow Jesus’s example, are compelled to take up a freewill collection from the multitude. It is not much. Some bread. Some fish. A lot of hungry faces. This is more than enough for those who rely on the miracle of Providence and not the pragmatism of socialist benefits.
An important part of this lesson is the fact that, before Jesus performs this miracle of charity, He commands that the people be networked together in an organized way, meeting in small groups of families as an adhocracy. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25) This is an efficient model of self-government that requires you to love your neighbor as yourself, being daily responsible for the welfare and righteousness of nine other families who are also daily responsible for yours. This way the people could “rightly divide bread from house to house” (Acts 2:46) with great efficiency and, on a national level, sustain the entire network of Christians in spite of persecution, emergencies, or dearths. These families were networked together by ministers to serve them, one minister per ten families. Then those ministers were networked by bondservant ministers, one bondservant per ten servants. And so on, as organized connection points like nerve endings to sensory neurons, to the brain, and back again. This made for an efficient transference of charity or volunteers in an efficient web of communication that not only competed against the centralized bureaucracies of human civil governments, but actually proved to be superior to them in every way. This was the essence of the Christian religion, in contrast to the public religion of worldly societies. This was not a new model for the Kingdom of God, this was a renewed practice that had kept Israel free from the bondage of serving human rulers for hundreds of years. “Bishops, presbyters (Elders) and deacons occupy in the church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons, and the Levites in the temple.” (Jerome, Epistle 146)
The next lesson to be learned here is that obedience to Christ, in organizing an alternative civil society, relying on faith, hope, and charity to sustain your Christian nation, will actually give God cause to take what little wealth and charity you have and multiply it in miraculous providence. Not only did some bread and some fish feed five thousand families, but there was more than enough left over in excess. This is the gambit of voluntary self-sacrifice for the love of one’s neighbor through faith in God. Whereas false gods over worldly government will compel your offerings through taxation to feed your entitled bellies, and never seem to have enough to go around, creating poverty through inflation and mismanagement of funds through bureaucratic corruption, God and His government will always make much out of very little, giving the increase as a reward for the faith of the obedient. Modern Christians who have no desire to seek God’s Kingdom, and take Christ’s name in vain as they slothfully find themselves as civil slaves, or even covetously vie for political influence in a pagan democracy, will invariably question why they never experience miracles, or will come up with a myriad of theologies to justify why miracles no longer occur. But the fact is, God’s miracles are reserved for freemen who keep the weightier matters in free societies modeled after the Kingdom of Heaven, ruled by God alone.
This model for organized charity became a rite of Christianity through the Lord’s Table, though it is commonly misunderstood and reduced to ceremonialism.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29)
Here Christ is giving an example of the boon inherent in “laying one’s life down for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) Whereas authoritarian Kings sacrifice the bodies and blood of their citizens through compulsion and taxation, providing bread and wine for society as socialist benefits, this servant-King gives up everything, including His life in order to be a practical example of the kind of character that belongs in a free society. This is a reinforcement of the idea that liberty is sustained by charity and self-sacrifice upon the Lord’s table rather than the “deceitful meats” of covetousness and contract prepared on the tables of human rulers. The word for “table” in scripture is also the word for “bank”. (Luke 19:23) In the Greek today, that word trapeza still means bank. “Bank” is from the Italian word “banca” meaning bench or table. The Lord’s bank is one that was deposited into freely without compulsion, and to eat of His table is to withdraw from His national bank without authority exercised over the gift of charity. Dissimilarly, the deposits into the banks of human rulers were compelled through taxation, and to eat of the benefits at their table meant that they exercised political authority over you through contracted slavery. When the fathers of the earth gave you provision, it gives them permission to also exercise a father’s authority over you. “Protection draws to it subjection; subjection protection.” (Coke, Littl. 65.) The Bible describes this dichotomy everywhere:
“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what [is] before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.” (Proverbs 23:1)
“Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” (Proverbs 23:6-8)
This event of the Last Supper, though often reduced to emulation in pageantry and dead works, signifies a renewed meaning of Passover and a fulfillment of its promise. The Israelites, towards the end of their bondage to Egypt where they were delivered by God from its authoritarian government maintained by socialist welfare schemes, had learned to provide for each other at their tables of charity, thereby repenting of taking Pharaoh’s benefits. This national holiday, as a commemoration of being liberated by God from corvee bondage through the Exodus, will later be renewed through Pentecost where the multitudes of Christ’s Kingdom would be kicked out of the social security schemes of the Pharisees and of Herod, if they had not been already. As the firstfruits of God’s society of freemen, they had to organize together and make sacrifices in a network of charity to sustain a people that could no longer be fed by the compelled offerings of sinful human governments. This is directly connected to the Passover holiday in a free Israel, where barley was the first grain to ripen every year, and was then harvested. Portions of it were donated to the Temple in Jerusalem through charity, and then re-dispersed to the needy of society. This bread of life sustained an entire nation because it was willingly given up by a free society, rather than being compelled through taxation and for covetousness which leads to spiritual death.
A good lesson to learn is that all societies are maintained by human sacrifices. Pagan societies rely on systemic oppression and harvesting bodies and lifeblood of their citizens through some sort of work-without-pay, whether it is press-ganging into military service, or income tax, or some other means where the people are kept from all of the fruits of their labor which are placed on the altars of human governments. Free societies are maintained by voluntary self-sacrifice where its citizens “lay down their lives for their friends” (John 15:13), and no free society can accurately exist without looking to the primacy of Jesus Christ as an example. He not only sloughed off Godhood to redeem mankind from the sins that lead them into bondage, and not only gave up his wealthy estate to become a servant of the people, He also subjected himself to the injustice system of worldly governments, giving up His very body and spilling His very blood as an innocent man through corporal punishment and public execution so that the citizens of His Kingdom would not have to, even though they had willingly subjected themselves to be eligible to receive those atrocities by the idolatry of civil citizenship. Christ’s sacrifice is the only example in all of history where a King gave up everything unto death to save His people from the rotten fruits of their political rebellion unto other kings. Christ’s sacrifice is the only example in all of history where a God gave up everything unto disgrace to save His people from the rotten fruits of their spiritual rebellion unto other gods. The institution of the Lord’s Supper was necessarily a paradigm shift from the pattern of other nations, where the gambit of self-sacrifice actually creates the blessing of abundance in a free society because it relies on God’s Providence through the practical example of loving one’s neighbor. This is a reinforcement of what God’s people learned to expect from the miracle of feeding five-thousand families through the voluntary donation of some loaves of bread and a couple of fish.
No doubt it would be difficult for most professing christians to accept that the weekly ritual of Lord’s Supper, as practiced by the early Christians, was about a network of charity as a continual repentance of taking part in the covetous provision of worldly governments. However, this was the necessary understanding as expressed by history and scripture:
“…And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost.” (Justin Martyr, Apology, Chapter LXVII)
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
It should be noted that the Greek word “agape” is always translated “love” when Jesus uses it in the Gospels, but “charity” whenever Paul uses it, as well as other books in the New Testament, like here in first Peter. Love and charity are inseparable concepts because those who have love for one another will necessarily be incorporated together in a network of charity to keep each other from sins contingent on civil bondage. If sin leads to systemic bondage through sloth or covetousness or idolatry, then systemic charity is associated with repentance, forgiveness and liberty. This is the purpose of the Gospel as exampled by Christ’s sacrifice: to liberate man from the dominion of man.
The rite of the Eucharist is the expression of laying down our lives in order to give that life to others. It is literally “thanksgiving,” or “the act of giving thanks”, or as expressed by the character of its participants: thankfulness for the opportunity to give. Especially as an investment in the lives of our fellow members in an adopted family, and our fellow citizens, in giving our lives to our adopted Father and our King.
“And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.” (Justin Martyr, Apology, Chapter LXVII)
“And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read… Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought… and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.” (Justin Martyr, Apology, Chapter LXVII)
The purpose of prayer is to make application for welfare provision to God or gods through servant-ministers or politicians. “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) It is because the blood of Christ is incorruptible love, contrasted against the blood of your fellow man which is covetousness, and because the flesh of Christ is the bread of charity, or the bread of life, contrasted against the “free” bread of socialism that it becomes necessary to partake in the blood and body of Christ in order to partake in the communion or fellowship of a free society. This dichotomy of two distinct choices of how to get your wine and bread is explicitly described by Paul in Galatians, but also described by Ignatius below:
“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. They have no care for love, nor concerning the widow, nor concerning the orphan, nor concerning the afflicted, nor concerning him who is bound or loosed, nor concerning him who is hungry or thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.” (Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, 6:2-7:1)
Addressing Christ’s teachings and pointing to their consistency with His miracles and character, and revisiting some of the experiences of the early Christians, it is increasingly clear how Christ’s religion has little to nothing in common with the Christianity of modern christians. Their gospel message is nominally political, and only in the twisted sense that it can allow politicians to call themselves christians with their mouths, but still commit to the Corban that “makes the word of God to none effect.” The Beatitudes do not truly enter into their worldview. Their ministers do not perform the daily ministration that binds a free society together in charity. They do not even receive persecution in any meaningful way, or for any reason that the disciples of Jesus were executed. In fact, modern christians look at the Bible in a much similar way that the Pharisees read the Torah. So too, their ideas about political involvement, entitlements to government services, and active neglect of the weightier matters makes them christians-in-name-only.
The next and final installment in this series of Gospel-related material will endeavor to cover ground concerning the Trial of Jesus Christ, and His death and resurrection, as well as the significance of Pentecost.