It is fairly common for those who attempt to argue against the validity of Abolitionism to offend its adherents by either taking scripture out of context or by oversimplifying concepts described in scripture. Granted, the most common and (dead) traditional interpretations and sophistry have served to confuse professing Christians for almost two thousand years, leading them away from the truth, not to mention the thousands of years of perverted scriptural dogma inherited by the Pharisees which are still repeated today. This article will endeavor to catalogue many of these blunders projected onto New Testament scriptures, and express them as they are intended to be interpreted: as compatible with the Kingdom of God and the liberty inherited by those who seek it. For a look at Old Testament scripture please read this post. To budget space on this post, and to assuage the attention span of the average reader, an analysis of Romans 13 is not included within this content. It can be found here instead.

Doth Not Your Master Pay Tribute?

“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.” (Matthew 17:24-27)

Many statists will require that this passage means that Jesus was either in favor of taxation or that He and the early Christians were subject citizens of governments who existed by taxation, but these interpretation would require a lazy understanding of the context. Because Capernaum rested on the border between two administrative regions, it was a prime location for the collection of the yearly national and temple taxes. Moses had inaugurated a tithe like this in Exodus 30:11-16 among all males over the age of twenty, for the maintenance of the tabernacle as an administrative tool for the Levites, and to contribute to the offerings which were welfare for the Israelite community as a nation. This half-shekel, repeated as a concept often in the Old Testament, was partially an idiomatic synecdoche, meaning that it was not a tax for the sake of income for the Levites, but was a renewal of registration for the patriarchs of the congregations of Israel. Its purpose was a form of tallying those who were counted as standing members among the adhocratic network of charity, so the Levites could better organize their efforts to serve the people. After the temple had been built, this half-shekel imposition was adopted, perverted, and codified into the legal system of the Jewish state and, while losing its original purpose, became a burden on the people.

“According to Edersheim (The Life and Times of Jesus), the yearly tax was collected during the Passover season. About a month before Passover, Jewish tax collectors would set up their tax booths to collect taxes from residents in Israel and near Jerusalem. Jews living in foreign lands also had to pay the ½ shekel or the two Attic drachmas tax. But, they could do so at one of the other pilgrim feasts such as the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) in the month of Sivan (June) or the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) in the month of Tishri (September/October). Late payments were collected by distraint as late as the month of Adar (February/March). The tax confrontation of Peter by the tax collectors could have happened as late as the month of Tishri, or it could have been much earlier in the summer when the confrontation took place.

I conclude from observing the above facts that this was the Temple tax required by Moses and that because Jesus was not at the Passover the previous spring, the Jews were aware that Jesus had not yet paid the didrachma. They were probably not as much interested in the tax as trying to find an accusation against him.

Therefore, the fact that the tax collectors confronted Peter about Jesus’ tax policy does not appear to be out of custom with the times. Apparently, the tax collectors kept tabs on Jesus and were aware that they had not yet received a didrachma from Jesus.” (Was Jesus Christ Tax Exempt? (2009, August 16). Family Guardian.)

Peter, an impetuous apostle who habitually spoke rashly and in ignorance, obviously acted in haste here when addressed by the tax collectors at Capernaum. Christ was quick to rebuke him, however. His correction includes a contrast between the members of the royal house and the civil subjects of rulers. The word for “strangers” in this passage is allotrios, meaning “belonging to another,” and “foreign, strange, not of one’s own family, alien, an enemy,” but Jesus was born into a regal rank as “the son of David,” through a royal bloodline, making him the rightful king of Judea and heir to his Father’s house, which made him the Lord and owner of the Temple at Jerusalem. As sovereign, He was not subject to the tax law because he was the source of the law, even though it had become perverted through generations of dead tradition. Peter’s indiscretion afforded him the liability to make his “yes” yes in order to not offend the tax collectors and make himself a liar, especially to bring undue suspicion onto Jesus. The tax would not be applied to the other apostles who did not foolishly speak out of turn, nor would it be taken from the troop’s purse. Christ himself did not handle the coins, but knew where Peter could obtain the tribute through some flotsam. Jesus Christ would later dismantle this tax system in the Temple of Jerusalem, and preach the establishment of a new one based on adhocracy and freewill offerings, taking the Kingdom of God from bureaucrats and giving it to those who would produce the fruits thereof. We have written about the implications of that event here.

PeterFishJesusTax
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Render Unto Caesar

“Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way. (Matthew 22:15-22)

This is probably one of the most common passages that statists attempt to raise up against the claims of Abolitionism in order to legitimize their idolatry. In order to do this, they must dismiss the context created by the scheming Pharisees, and their statist guilt directly repeated in the statism of today. Because there were several Greek words translated “tribute” in the New Testament, it is important to recognize that the tribute referenced in this passage is not the same tribute referenced in the temple tax relevant to the account of Peter’s indiscretion. While that latter tribute originally applied to people whose Lord was God alone, the former tribute only applied to those who made Caesar their lord, through the application of citizenship for his pragmatic providence as their god in their sin. We have written elsewhere about the implications of rendering unto Caesar that which is God’s and how it brings one under the eligibility to be taxed by him. “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.” (Proverbs 12:24)

To bring those concepts into the context of this passage, it is necessary to examine a few of its details. Namely the implications of the contrast between the image of God and the image of Caesar. The coin in the possession of the Pharisees was most likely a variation of the Antiochian tetradrachm. In this case, one reflecting Tiberius with the inscription “Caesar Augustus Tiberius, son of the Divine Augustus” on the front and “Pontif Maxim” on the back, therefore delineating him as the “son of God” on one side and “the high priest” on the other. In the most basic and obvious sense, this coin was a perfect example of a graven image, which was in violation of the very laws that the Pharisees pretended to follow, interpret, and enforce. The false god of Augustus Caesar was not only superstitiously considered divine, but was also an appointer of gods because he retained the role of installing the supreme court justices of Rome. He was also the father of the earth over the civil citizens of Rome as their provider and protector, who gave them an allowance through income, but also could extract taxation from them, which is the patrimonial right of kings, or civil fathers, contrary to Christ’s command. This exact idolatry is perfected by Americans today, for American civil government is identical to Roman civil government.

The Pharisees had completely bought into the false gospel of Augustus, worshipped him both literally and figuratively and, as blind guides, lead the people astray into civil bondage all the while calling that bondage the Kingdom of Heaven. They were under social contracts to the Pax Romana, and taught this practice as righteousness despite it explicitly breaking the Law of God. When it came time to choose between Christ and Caesar, they compounded their sin in confirming that they had “no king but Caesar.” They were made in Caesar’s image after all, as legal persons at law, and refused to be born again as freemen in God’s image, under His jurisdiction in His Kingdom.

In calling out their hypocrisy as those who say they serve God but serve human magistrates instead, Christ demolishes their pretense at some moral high ground. It is the position of Christ and abolitionists that one should not owe anything to Caesar and that taxation is a recompense and a justice for the debt that comes with making Caesar your lord. You first had to render unto Caesar that which is God’s, giving up your dominion and placing yourself under the dominion of ruling men. In the transaction, you receive things of Caesar’s like legal titles, legal tender, legal employment, and therefore legal obligations to maintain those things. The purpose of this passage is to compel you to realize that you should not have anything belonging to Caesar to begin with, and to give it back to him so that God may become your provider instead. If you had not sinned by abandoning that which is God’s, you would have retained your rights and responsibilities rather than traded them in for civil privileges and legal liabilities. You could have kept the fruits of your labor rather than subjecting them to Caesar in corvee bondage, for the empty promises of welfare and other boons of civil citizenship obtained at the expense of your neighbor’s taxation. Now that you are trapped by the words of your mouth in your own covetousness and sloth, you must make your “yes” yes, and pay for the consequences for your sins. This, and only this, is what is meant by “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,” identical to the tale of bricks that the Israelites had to pay Pharaoh in their Egyptian bondage, before they received salvation through an Exodus, by God’s mercy in their repentance for going under Pharaoh generations beforehand.

YourMoneyYourFace
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But Romans 13 Says…

Due to the popularity of this excuse and the length of its content, this prooftext has its own post located here.

Remember Them Which Have the Rule Over You

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (Hebrews 13:7)

The word for rule here is not the typical one for authoritarian office, which is “arché“, meaning “comes first and is therefore chief” which means it “has priority ahead of the rest.” It is the word “hégeomai“, which means “to lead the way” and “carries important responsibility and hence ‘casts a heavy vote’ (influence) – and hence deserve cooperation by those who are led.” This scripture is not referring to men in positions of authoritarian government, patterned after the world, but the servant ministers of God’s titular government, the pastors who lead the people in dedicated, literal service and moral example. They, explicitly according to Christ, did not “come first and are therefore chief.” Christ instructed that they come last in Luke 22. This notion is expanded upon ten verses later.

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

The word for “obey” here is “peithó” which is related, not to a relationship characterized by subordination, but by persuasion and confidence in one’s wisdom, to assurance, taking advice, being “won over” and idioms of similar connotation. Likewise, the concept of submission here is a voluntary one, from “hupeikó” “to resist no longer, but to give way, yield,” as in to willingly agree to defer to one’s direction and advice. This is because the ministers “watch for” their congregants in being vigilant in ministering to them “without any unnecessary ‘time off.'” Part of their role in maintaining a free society is to “give account” to the rest of the organized christian network in a record to better distribute the daily ministration. These verses are establishing the importance of a willing cooperation with the ministers as an alternative to enforced social contracts that the people suffered under with the bureaucracies of the world, for their socialist welfare schemes. The whole chapter is a warning against the latter, and an injunction to not be remiss with the former.

Pray for Rulers

“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 Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-7)

It is not uncommon to see this passage used to attempt to dismiss the abolitionist worldview. Granted, this is never as a result of careful study, but rather because it is much easier to just flippantly repeat base prooftexts when confronted in one’s idolatry than it is to work through the implications of an opposing viewpoint. We see over and over again that a “plain reading” of scripture (as if scripture was plainly written in modern English) is a lazy reading of scripture, and that there is no “plain reading” that is not tempered by the personal interpretation of presupposition based on hearsay, personal experience, imagination, or some combination of the three. In regards to this passage, interpreting it in the typical statist fashion requires that one presupposes that the early christians had literal kings to rule over them, or men to exercise authority over them. This presupposition denies the fact that Christ did not allow such a model for His kingdom, and that history attests the opposing theme.

The term we see for “king” in this passage is “basileus” which means “leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land, king,” and “a sovereign (abstractly, relatively, or figuratively).” When the term is used in the New Testament to refer to literal civil rulers, it is often (though not exclusively) in reference to Christ whose kingship was characterized by service and restoring the power of choice to the people after they had sinfully concentrated it into the hands of human rulers by covetous contract and careless consent. In the Kingdom of God, the people recognized no kings of the world who could exercise civil authority over them. Neither did they have a standing army, the power to legislate each other, judges who could rule over them, enforcers of taxation, or any other institutional vice so common to pagan societies. According to the dominion mandate, every patriarch was to be king and priest in his own house. Every person was to legislate themselves, because God writes His Law on the hearts and minds of freemen. Every elder collects taxes of his own family through freewill offerings in a charitable network of free assemblies. This reality is maintained by keeping the natural order of the family, where every wife was one flesh with and civilly covered by her husband, incorporated as one person at law, and every child remained wholly intact under their parents’ authority and dominion. This positioned the power of choice of society into the hands of patriarchal elders who retained the equitable rights to their property and family as natural positions of authority over the fruits of their labor and the products of being fruitful and multiplying.

The phrase “that are in authority” is extrapolated from one Greek word “huperoché” meaning “superiority, excellence, preeminence,” and even “with excellency of speech or of wisdom.” The only place it is translated “authority” is in circular reasoning in this passage, and is not the usual word Greek authors used to describe literal authority. It is from the word “huperechó” which is translated “higher” in Romans 13. We have detailed a more thorough analysis of the word here. It is most often used to reflect excellence of character, especially in regards to service, morality, and humility. There is a form of rank in the government of God, but it is never positional, and always based on reputation and the minister’s performance of his duties. The only authority they had was, not over the people, but over the freewill offerings entrusted to them by the people. Those offerings were consecrated to God to be redistributed to those who had need, as a form of God’s Providence.

Paul describes why supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving should be made for all men, but especially “the elders, and for those that are held to a higher standard of moral excellence (pastors),” and this is so “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” The Elders were to lead their families and the Pastors were to network them together in congregations of faith, hope, and charity by their service. Praying that they may carry out their duties in humility and good character seems like a no-brainer, because this was the nature of a free society: the family unit was the political party, coming together in adhocracy, and the called-out servant ministers were a titular government to organize them. Societies in bondage require that the families are broken up so that their members are dependent on and assimilate into the socialist fleshpots, who all share the same civil fathers and false gods, to have mediators in politicians and lesser magistrates between them and their rulers. For the Christians, however, because they were themselves responsible to keep the weightier matters and organize themselves voluntarily, they only had “one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” When the passage describes Him as savior, it is because they were saved from the wrath of kings to enter into the free society characterized by the Kingdom of God, and only because Jesus Christ gave up everything in order to ransom a repentant people to go under his life-giving jurisdiction in restoring them to the original liberty given to God’s favored creation. It is for this reason Paul had been ordained a preacher of this Gospel message and an apostle (ambassador) to Gentiles who were still in civil captivity.

Submit Yourselves

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 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.” (1 Peter 2:11-18)

Even though the beginning of this chapter describes Peter’s audience as “disallowed of men” (as in cast out from their civil societies), “lively stones” in a “spiritual house” as a “holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices” (as opposed to hewn stones in a carnal, worldly jurisdiction, as civil slaves, who give up forced sacrifices through taxation), a “chosen generation” (as in a nation of one kind of people), a “royal priesthood, an holy nation” (as in a kingdom of priests, freed from former civil slavery), “a peculiar people” (which will be examined shortly) who have been called out “of darkness into his marvellous light” (left the civil jurisdictions of the world to enter the Kingdom of God), those contentious against the Gospel of God still use this passage to legitimize going under the power of human civil government. To coincide with the notion of being “a peculiar people,” Peter also describes his audience as being “strangers and pilgrims” in verse eleven. This idea of God’s people being “in the world, but not of the world” is one that encompasses both testaments, as we have already touched on in the previous blog post:

“To further compound this point, in Daniel 2:25, he is referred to as a ‘captive’ or ‘exile’ of Judah. Often throughout scripture, this concept is coupled with the word ‘stranger’ which sometimes means ‘resident’ or ‘alien‘ as opposed to ‘citizen’ and sometimes means ‘without a share,’ as in possesses no entitlement to the strange nation’s provision.”

It is this same sort of provision and entitlement that Peter recalls with the phrase “fleshly lusts which war against the soul,” because socialist provision from Benefactors who exercise authority brings one into civil bondage. If you abstain from taking government benefits your soul will have peace, because you will be free from bondage, under God’s jurisdiction and eligible for his Providence instead. It is because Christians belong to a separate civil society with its own laws, customs, system of welfare and method of organization that it even becomes relevant to instruct them to have their “conversation honest among the Gentiles.” The word Gentiles comes from the greek “ethnos,” referring to “a race” or “nation,” as people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture.” Compared to God’s people, anybody belonging to another god in another civil society separate from their own, would be considered a gentile. The world of Rome, under which the early Christians were not subject citizens, was a gentile nation. The word for “conversation” in the same verse is from the Greek word “anastrephó” which simply means “conduct” or “behavior,” but is curiously translated “turn upside down” when described of the early Christians in Acts 17:

“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.” (Acts 17:5-9)

This connection helps to reveal just what kind of honest “conversation” that the Christians were having with the Gentiles. Their conduct upset the Roman and Herodian Jews because they were not counted among Roman and Herodian citizenship, and preaching repentance unto citizenship of the Kingdom of God. They were not subject to the decrees of Caesar. They had another king entirely. It was for this reason that the gentiles spoke against the Christians as evildoers, and we see in Acts 19 that they were accused of robbing the temple of Diana at Ephesus. Because this temple was actually an international bank, with one of the most secure depositories at the time, it is impossible to consider that this accusation against the Christians was literal. We have written more on the “evildoing” of the early Christians here and here:

“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.”

With this history and exegesis serving as a backdrop, it would be beneficial to examine just what Peter means when he tells his audience to submit themselves “to every ordinance of man… unto governors” who are “for the punishment of evildoers.” Surely, if Peter was known for doing “contrary to the decrees of Caesar,” because He had “another king, one Jesus,” then this concept of submitting to governors and human ordinances must mean that he was inconsistent in advocating that Christians attempt to serve two masters. This, however, is untrue and for a number of reasons starting with the fact that the word for “submit,” grammatically and conceptually following the topic of Christian “conduct” among the Gentiles, is “hupotassó” meaning “to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection,” and “to yield to one’s admonition or advice: absolutely.” These definitions are frequently used for military usage, but there is another definition that should be applied to this passage owed to the fact that Christians had no place in Roman or Herodian military: “In non-military use, it was ‘a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.'” (“Strong’s #5293 – Ὑποτάσσω – Old & New Testament Greek Lexicon.”) This is the same word and definition used in Titus 3:

“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3:1-2)

The concept of submission here does not mean to go under legislative authority or judicial oversight of worldly magistrates. It means that the christian conversation (conduct and behavior) with the gentiles is to reflect humble cooperation with local customs and to voluntarily respect municipal authority. Paul suggests something similar when he says:

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-22)

As “strangers and “pilgrims,” christians should cooperate with local law enforcement voluntarily, even though they belong to another political society entirely, so as to be a witness to the native population who remain civil slaves, under administrative civil law. It should be noted that the word for “ordinance” here is not the usual word “dikaioma,” referring to the sort of ordinances to which Christians were not subject. It is “ktisis,” which is also translated “creature” in the Great Commission when it refers to the injunction of preaching the Gospel to every “civil institution,” in the pursuit of redeeming man from the dominion of man. In 1 Peter 2, christians are merely advised to voluntarily cooperate with the institutions (ktisis) when relevant, even though they are not under their literal authority.

To summarize these concepts: the voluntary cooperation that Christians are to have is with the very civil institutions from which they are politically free, and from which they are preaching repentance in order to make more men free. They do not submit to the laws themselves, because they are free from them, but neither are they creating violent unrest in prideful immaturity, or inciting arbitrary social chaos. As expressed all over scripture, it is these authoritarian “governors” and legalistic institutions that are “the punishment of evildoers” as an ouroboros of self-destructive bondage over their subject citizens through their contracts, covetousness, and taxation, from which the Christians remain civilly separate. Peter elucidates on this punishment for evildoing when he says “And through Covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (2 Peter 2:3)

An added benefit of this voluntary and sober cooperation with local customs and pagan magistrates is that it “may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” The jealousy of civil slaves towards freemen tends to resemble the sort of backbiting that is inherent to raising up strawmen in defamatory accusations. There is no doubt that Christians were rebels against the world order, turning it upside down as they preached the alternative Kingdom of God, but their weapons were spiritual, and not carnal, in their revolution. They did not revolt or instigate physical violence or call for insurgent coups against the status quo. They preached repentance, recognizing that oppression and institutionalism were consequences for the sins committed by the people when they oppressed their neighbor by initially raising up the institutions. These foolish men did not “abstain from fleshly lusts” and, not only did their sin lead them to bondage, but it also led to them to becoming reprobate in their foolishness. We have written on that subject and its parallel sentiments reflected in Roman 1 here. Peter drives home the voluntary cooperative relationship of unregistered christians with another nation’s magistrates by describing them “as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” Their liberty is intrinsic to their amicable ambassadorship to foreign governments, not unlike Jonah’s role in turning Nineveh upside down, reforming their entire civil and political structure just by preaching true repentance. With this bold meekness, prophets naturally honour all men, love their brotherhood of fellow believers, and honour King Jesus, the Christ, walking a fine line between protest and humility to cause a peaceful revolution and revival unto the Kingdom of God.

1 Peter 2
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And Despise Government

“But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption…” (2 Peter 2:10-12)

Even though the context of this chapter is exclusively a warning against false teachers creeping into the Christian community to promote human civil government, many idolaters will still twist this one passage to justify the same form of government it is condemning. The beginning of the chapter begins by warning against false teachers bringing “damnable heresies“, denying Jesus as lord in favor of some human ruler, and how those false teachers will use “feigned words” to stoke “covetousness” which turns people into civil property, or “merchandise“, leading both the blind guides and the blind followers into “damnation” that “slumbereth not.” Peter goes on to compare these heresies to the sin of Sodom, which was initially socialism, necessarily institutionalized by the existence of human civil government, which eventually enabled the people, in their hardness of heart, to commit other misdeeds contingent to the breakdown of the family unit. You discard the relevant importance and use of the family in the creation of civil institutions, dissolving natural relationships in the pursuit of perversion. There is no human civil government without “the lust of uncleanness.” This is process of idolatry leading to all manners of social ills is fleshed out here. The word for “government” in verse 10 is “kuriotés” which means “dominion, power, lordship,” “one who possesses dominion.” This is the only place in the New Testament this word is translated “government.” Everywhere else it means “dominion.”

“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” (Ephesians 1:20-21)

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” (Jude 1:8)

The dominion expressed here is not one to be instituted over men by Benefactors who exercise civil authority. Rather, it is those who raise up rulers over themselves that despise their own dominion. They must speak evil of their inherent dignity, granted to them by God by being made in His image, forsaking the Dominion Mandate in abandoning their divinely given rights and responsibilities to steward their own land, property, and families. When they are tempted by covetousness for the comforts of the flesh, to be made in the image of, and as merchandise for ruling men, abandoning their natural and supernatural inheritance like Esau or the Prodigal Son, they become like “natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed… and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.” They give up the dominion inherent to their birthright, granted by their heavenly Father and natural fathers, and create a power vacuum to be filled by the dominion of civil fathers, no different than the error of Balaam, as expressed by the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. We have written extensively on the subject of Dominion here.

 

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