Monday, December 31, 2007

Day 7: Kingmas: Christ = King

On the Seventh Day of Christmas . . . let's consider a conflict of power.

Imagine the Republicans come to their collective sanity and nominate Ron Paul, who faces Hillary Clinton in November. The clash is between Republicans who want liberty, and Democrats who want dependence ("security"); between Americans who want peace and those who profit from war; between candidates like Ron Paul who really don't want to be President, and those like Hillary, who really, really do.

Now imagine that the U.S. Supreme Court declares Hillary to be the President, after a 2000-like election debacle.

Now imagine that all Americans who voted for Ron Paul refuse to acknowledge that Hillary is legally the President. Hillary gives the orders, but half the nation refuses to obey them (except conventional things like stopping for stop signs, even if the stop sign was personally installed by a relative of Hillary).

Hillary goes ballistic. She starts throwing things at cabinet members and Supreme Court justices, accusing them of not taking sufficient steps to protect her authority. Even Democrats are embarrassed, and her popularity plummets. Impeachment proceedings begin, but just like in her husband's case, the old-guard elite of the Republican Party comes to her defense and prevents her from being removed from office.

In 2009, an immensely popular rock star writes a book explaining why he (or she) is a libertarian. It becomes a huge best-seller. The rock star goes on tour, promoting the book and singing about the libertarian philosophy. A national sensation becomes a national phenomenon, and a political movement emerges. There is no doubt that this rock star is going to run against Hillary in 2012, and will probably win.

Hillary attempts to have the rock star assassinated. The attempt fails, and the rock star flees to China, where the growing libertarian movement shelters the prospective candidate from the Clinton machine. The time comes for the rock star to return to officially become a candidate. Travelling incognito, the exact airplane carrying the star is not disclosed. Hillary orders the Clinton machine to use surface-to-air missiles to take out every plane arriving at U.S. airports from the far East, blaming "terrroists" for the attacks. Dozens of planes are downed, killing thousands of innocent people.

Sound crazy? It's insane.

But so are many emperors.

King Herod was insane at that first Christmas, when he ordered all infant boys Jesus' age to be killed. The insane acts of politicians should never surprise us.

Because politicians are really quite logical:

Herod's goal was to retain power.
Jesus threatened Herod's power.
Jesus must die.

Jesus is the only legitimate King. "Christ" is a title, not a name. "Jesus Christ" is not like "John Smith." "Christ Jesus" means "King Jesus."

Politicians (if logical) will kill Christians (if consistent) for this belief.

There have always been theologians who say that Christians are no threat to any government. Unfortunately, they have too often been correct.

But Christians should "threaten" power not with violence, but with conversion. When people "convert" from one king to another King, this threatens the power of the abandoned king.

"The Great Commission" is the label given by many to Christ's final words:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
Matthew 28:18-20

It's more than a commission given to the disciples. It's also a statement of authority on Christ's part. If Jesus has all authority, than anyone claiming authority which is not delegated by Jesus is deluded or a liar. Jesus did not delegate to me or anyone else the authority to draw an arbitrary line in the sand and say to you, "If you cross this line, I have the divine right to confiscate your property or kill you." If someone who is delusional tells you to stop your car at his "STOP" sign or he will confiscate your car, it might be prudent to stop, even if no lives or property would be threatened by not doing so. (If lives are threatened, then Jesus says to STOP to preserve the life and the property of others.) If Osama bin Laden and ten million jihadists invade America, nuke all U.S. military bases and police stations, and declare America to be under "sharia law" with Osama the supreme leader, consistent Christians will "obey" Osama's law not to steal, but will not admit the moral legitimacy of Osama's cutting off of offenders' hands.

A consistent Christian will not believe that Osama has legitimate authority. Even if his invasion of America should be ratified by majority vote of Americans, his authority is still morally illegitimate by Christian standards. It has no more moral legitimacy than the Roman Caesar's occupation of Israel at the first Christmas. Jesus said we are to go along with Caesar's centurions and Hitler's Gestapo. King Jesus said we are not to resist evil in a vengeful sense, but we are to resist in the spiritual sense of not accepting their evil deeds as normal or acceptable.

Caesar, Hitler, the CFR, Bush-Clinton: The Christmas King stands in opposition to their works of death. Whatever social benefits they provide, or whatever monuments remain for archaeologists to admire, do not legitimize their authority or get them off the hook as far as their duty to acknowledge King Jesus goes.

Those who truly celebrate Christmas deny the moral legitimacy of Herod's pretended authority.

But they also affirm something, working positively for a goal beyond simply eliminating tyranny and darkness.

Q: If every nation were Christianized, and everyone were observing Christ’s commandments, what kind of world would we have?

A: A capitalist world.

As we have seen, capitalism is the social system based on the absence of the initiation of force or violence. If everyone were obeying the commandments of the Prince of Peace, nobody would be initiating force or violence against others. And that would be a state of global capitalism.

The next question is, How does this come to pass? How is the Great Commission fulfilled? How does Christ turn a world of socialists, thieves and extortioners, into a world of productive capitalists?

If America's Puritan forefathers could travel through time to 2008, the first thing that would notice about the people they meet is how uneducated and contemptuous they are. The authority of parents and elders in local schools and businesses is not respected, but the authority of atheistic tyrants in Washington D.C. is. The men who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were schooled under the Puritan educational philosophy exemplified by "The New England Primer." The children's catechism questions could not be comprehended, much less answered, by today's functionally illiterate secular Americans.

Q. 23. What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer ?
A. Christ as our Redeemer executes the office of a prophet, of a priest, & of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.

When elementary-aged children finished the New England Primer, they went on to the Larger Catechism, a catechism which 90% of today's seminary graduates and televangelists could not pass. That catechism asks,

Q. 43. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in his revealing to the church, in all ages, by his Spirit and Word, in divers ways of administration, the whole will of God, in all things concerning their edification and salvation.

Q. 44. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering himself a sacrifice without spot to God, to be reconciliation for the sins of his people; and in making continual intercession for them.

Most Christians agree (in a vague, uneducated sense) that Christ is already a prophet and a priest. The Hebrews at the time of the first Christmas were told:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the Heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2)

"Speaking" is the prophetic function. And of course the rest of the book of Hebrews tells about Christ’s priestly work.

There is a sense in which all of the promises of Christmas have already been inaugurated, and are now blossoming like a flower. The Book of Hebrews makes clear that many events and figures of the Old Testament were types and foreshadows of events that would later take place. They in fact took place during the period of time recorded in the New Testament. For example, the work of the high priest in the holy of holies in the tabernacle prefigured the work of Christ, the great High Priest. That work has been done; Christ has already finished His sacrificial work and has already been to the true Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:12). Another promise of Christmas was to extend to all nations the promises made to Abraham. This invitation was made in the first century.

So Christ executes the office of a Prophet and Priest in our day. But is Christ a King? Today? Or will Jesus only be the Christ (the Messiah, the King) tomorrow, after His future Second Coming? Remember the warning of 1 John 2:22 : “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.” The next question in the Catechism completes the discussion of the work Christ has completed.

Q. 45. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself,
[174] and giving them officers,[175] laws,[176] and censures, by which he visibly governs them;[177] in bestowing saving grace upon his elect,[178] rewarding their obedience,[179] and correcting them for their sins,[180] preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings,[181] restraining and overcoming all their enemies,[182] and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory,[183] and their good;[184] and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.[185]

On the Ninth Day of Christmas, we'll break this answer down and learn more about the true meaning of Christmas.

Tomorrow: "Let's Keep Christmas Commercialized!"

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