Wednesday, January 20, 2016

No King But Jesus

I don't know if Christians have always favored statism, or if modern American Christians are just a wonderful example of the success of government schooling. It is a subject I must study further, as I seem to remember reading about certain Christians in the past claiming "No King But King Jesus" and being persecuted for it. Perhaps a reader can enlighten me.

The overwhelming majority of believers with whom I speak and whose stuff I read on the internet and in books seem to think that God wants to rule us through an earthly intermediary, an earthly ruler. I have heard it said countless times that God created 3 institutions, the Church, the family and government. And yet I find no place in Scripture where God instituted government. Romans 13 is used as a proof text, and yet it fails to guide God's people up to the time Paul wrote his letter. Where in God's Law does he ordain governments? Where does He say that His Law is to be executed by governments? To whom was the Law of God given? To His people.

In fact, I see the exact opposite. God wanted to rule His people directly. The book of Judges demonstrates what I believe to be the closest look at how God intended to govern. The Law had been given to Moses, then Joshua led the people of God into the promised land. There is no evidence that they tried to establish a government over all of the land. There are places in Judges where we read of kings within the Israelite lands. These were likely tribal leaders or rulers of cities, but they were not set up to execute God's Laws. The cities also had elders, which is a natural sort of government, if you want to call it that. Elders would hear disputes, represent the city in negotiations with other cities, etc. But they didn't "rule" because the Law of God ruled.

In Judges 8 we see Gideon dealing with city elders who are violating God's command to help their brethren drive out the heathen. After Gideon takes care of that problem and saves Israel from the oppression of foreign kings the people cry out to Gideon to rule over them:
Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou has delivered us from the hand of Midian. Judges 8:22
But Gideon, a type of Christ and a deliverer answers this way:
And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you. Judges 8:23
It isn't recorded that the people didn't understand what it meant for God to rule over them without a king. I guess it was clear to them. But we modern people just can't grasp it. We know that we won't go on a spree of murder, mayhem and robbery, but our neighbor might. I guess.  If an earthly government isn't controlling our every move and writing thousands upon thousands of laws we are going to destroy each other and the earth? When did we get such an idea? Not from the Bible. The Bible doesn't even hint that God's Law was a good start, but we really need to legislate every tiny detail. The pharisees did just that, and Jesus did not have kind words for them.

What does God say about a people that demand a king? Has God spoken? Is Jesus the same yesterday, today and forever? Did God intend to rule directly over His people by means of His Law? I say that He did and here is where God said the same:
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah. And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in the thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.  1 Samuel 8:4-7
 Could it be that it pleases God if, when given the choice, we choose to govern ourselves with the Law of God only and reject an earthly government? Is God inadequate for the job? If not, then why subject ourselves to so much tyranny? We are worse than the fools at Galatia who wanted to earn their salvation by works according to the Law. We want to please God by obeying man's Law.
O foolish (Americans), who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?  Galatians 3:1, my paraphrase
 American Christians will reject any notion that they should obey the Law of God, and those same Christians will assert that disobedience to any of the thousands of local, state and federal laws, plus incorporated laws of other nations is sin because God wants us to "obey every ordinance."

If the laws of man contradict or add to the Law of God, are we obligated to obey them while we ignore the commands of the living God? When we measure our righteousness by the standard of man's laws, are we not idolators?
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
 How does one know if he has a king?  The borders of a kingdom are determined by where the kingdom's laws are obeyed. All who obey the law of the king are his subjects. Subjecting oneself to the king means subjecting oneself to the law of the king. If his laws are not obeyed, then he is not the sovereign. Obeying the laws of another realm is evidence of loyalty to that realm.

No king but King Jesus!

No comments: