Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prophets, Priests, and Kings

The most powerful people in the world have a vested interest in getting people away from the Bible and away from Christianity, or indeed any religion with judgment and an afterlife among its doctrines. These powers don’t want you to believe in eternity because once you do they loose much of their power over you. Once you understand that this life is just a test and that the one to come is the important one, it is much harder for them to pressure you into making moral compromises. You do not fear their consequences as much.

I find that this is the overwhelming reason that much of the ruling class, with their high-dollar media, judiciary, and education system, make it their business to deride Christianity and drive it from the public square. No matter what their stated motives are for this behavior, I consider their actual motives to be a desire to maximize the elites own power over the rest of us. Since Americans are wired against worship at a government-supported church, they make it their business to see to it that we have no church at all.

Governments that are tyrannical or headed towards tyranny will approach religion one of two ways- they will co-opt all that will sell out, and discourage or suppress the rest. Governments that are simply working to protect the natural rights of their citizens would not do either of those things, but in order to find such a government one would need not an airline ticket but rather a time machine.

Throughout history, the secular power has tried to control the religious power of society and harness it for its own purposes. The scriptures reveal an opposite pattern. Its pages are filled with examples of God’s servants who spoke unwelcome truth to power. They rebuked even kings when kings broke a law higher than any man could make. Most churches these days are far too timid and preoccupied with keeping their tax exemptions and maximizing collection plate dollars to go around speaking unwelcome truth to power.

It happened in the scriptures too. For 360 years Israel had the world’s first and still longest-lasting democracy. That does not make it in the history books much, but its so. They had very limited government. The law was fixed as handed down by Moses, so there was no need for a legislature to change it from year to year depending on which special interest group was handing out the biggest bribes. There was a judiciary to apply the law to specific cases. Only in emergencies was there a temporary executive, who was supposed to step down once the crisis passed. Cincinnatus gets credit for refusing the throne in the early days of the Roman Republic, but Gideon the Hebrew did it first. He was a temporary executive ruler who defeated the Midianites in spectacular fashion. When the people wanted to make him king he refused and told them “the Lord will be your King.”

After a while, the people insisted on a king, like the heathen nations. Read 1st Samuel Chapter 8 if you want a good idea of what God thinks of a strong central executive government’s ability to safe-guard people’s rights. It wasn’t too long after this that the kings were running the priests, like in the heathen nations. This marked the end of the Priests speaking unwelcome truth to power, so God moved outside the institution of the temple and began to send prophets unconnected to the government-religion complex. Then it was the prophets who started rebuking kings, and speaking unwelcome truth to power.


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