This World’s Empires in Light of the Scriptures

Just a reminder, dear Christian readers, that American politics and economics ought to matter to you as much as Roman politics and economics mattered to the early church: not very much at all.

Paul repeatedly reminded Christians that we are a set apart people, that we constitute a “holy nation,” and that though we are obligated to submit to government should we break its laws, it is better for us to obey God rather than man. John went so far as to portray the Roman economic system as “the mark of the beast” and Caesar not as the god the Romans worshiped him as, but as a sinister servant of Satan!

Friends, not much has changed. Put your priorities on heavenly things. If you are a true believer in Christ, know that He has saved you not only from sin but from this world’s empires, ushering you through rebirth into a kingdom not of this world.

The Scriptures reveal that Satan is the prince of this world — its empires, kingdoms, and economies. We are expressly told that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.

And we are sent as ambassadors of that kingdom and are unequivocally told to live in a manner becoming of our King, to the point that we are conformed to His image.

Whether it be through little things like growing your own food so that you don’t have to participate in Rome’s markets or through larger things like refusing to vote for the rulers of kingdoms which you are, in the eyes of God, not even a citizen of, each and every one of us can subvert Satan’s kingdom. (If you thought evangelism and doctrinal training were the only ways to do this, you have been taught a woefully incomplete view of the Scriptures. Those things are great — foundational, even! — but they are by no means the whole picture.)

Each day that you live, you are given a choice: serve God or serve something else. You cannot serve two masters, and you most definitely cannot please the King when you spend all your time getting comfortable in this world. To be friends with the Christ is to be enemies with the world. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

8 thoughts on “This World’s Empires in Light of the Scriptures”

  1. Easier said than done. To produce enough plant based food for the year I’d need appx 9000 more sq ft of land and cold storage, not a huge feat but it is difficult for anyone in a city. Our plan is to accomplish this by 2014, but that seems a little late.

    What is you’re plan, what are you working on?

  2. The food thing was just one example, and I do realize that not everyone has the land to do it. (This is where the communal nature of Christianity comes into play; those who can grow lots of food can share with those who can’t so that no one wants.)

    I’d like to start composting, and I have a great idea for a tiered garden in the back of our house on our patio. Perhaps we could grow some herbs or something there.

    Nothing eco-conscious about it; there are good, spiritual reasons to live an environmentally-friendly life — the stewardship involved in doing so is so much better than living a throwaway life (buy it, use it, toss it, repeat).

  3. Thats true, if the church where functioning in a community nature things would me much simpler. Some groups do that, but they are uncommon.

    Teired gardens are great, you should be able to grow more than just herbs in that setup, but fresh herbs are one of the joys of life. Tomatoes and Strawberries usually provide good value for in town gardens as well, they produce well in limited spaces, and tomatoes can be comparatively expensive depending on your area. For mid sized teirs you could get a decent yield of potatoes on a 100sq ft bed as well.

    I cant say much about how churches should be sharing, I didn’t grow enough this year to share a substantial amount. In some respects this thread and the one on holy kisses are related, people want to be so independent that community is a byword. If we don’t depend on God and other Christians we will wind up depending on the world’s empires.

  4. I wouldn’t worry about not having much to share. God doesn’t tell us to produce a huge yield for the purpose of sharing, but rather to give joyfully of what we do have to those who may need it. In many areas, the vast majority of people don’t have any real needs that need to be met. In a way, this has spoiled churches in America — Christians have become accustomed to being able to keep all/most of what they earn or acquire.

    The question of whether one should send support elsewhere — to other communities or even abroad — is a good one. We don’t really see the churches doing that in the Scriptures, I don’t think, and Paul teaches (in my estimation) that we ought to know and commune with those who we support. For instance, if we choose to help a widow, we should make sure she is a “widow indeed.” (Not sure of the passage offhand.) It also doesn’t look like the apostles took care to always carry money for the purpose of giving; when Peter passed by the lame man, he had no money to give, but was able to help in a miracle capacity.

  5. You raise a good point I’ve been considering a lot lately. As much as international outreach such as having ‘a heart for Africa’ is promoted there is a great deal of such ministries that I simply cannot bring myself to trust. I have an aunt that works for the UN that oversaw distribution of goods from charities in Africa when she first stared, she turned me off of giving to large scale organizations by her stories of goods being taken by warlords and being sold to buy guns in a large scale or corrupt wealthy governments getting the donations rather than the people in need.

    I have a great uncle that ministered in Burkina Faso back when it was Upper Volta, when I’m disposed to give to missions in Africa I always look for the people that worked with him (or where converted by him) and give only to them. I would say that giving to a global outreach group is foolish unless you know personally people high up in it or they have a full disclosure policy and you have thoroughly reviewed exactly what they are doing. Though the second option is only theoretical to me, I’ve only given to people and groups I know.

    For my own sake I would like to overproduce more, no one in my church requires it of course but someone is always bringing in hearty cuts of fresh pork or new raspberry jam or fall gourds or extra venison from hunting, I’d like ton get to a place where I can participate in giving like most the rest of my church.

  6. God loves a cheerful giver, so good on ya for wanting to give more!

    I guess my “thing” regarding giving to oversees organizations (or even to large organizations in one’s own nation) is that it seems a bit like a cop-out. We give to people who don’t have needs so that then they can give to people who do have needs, and all the while the whole process remains impersonal. Granted, there are programs, such as ChildFund International, that pairs givers to specific children, allowing them to write and to get to know each other. And that’s great. Giving shouldn’t be impersonal. We should be all about community and strengthening it; a community isn’t strengthened when its resources are shipped away to the nameless “others,” you know? This is especially true when one considers that there are very likely still needs present in the community itself, whether publicly known or not.

  7. Yeah, I can see what you’re saying. I believe there is some place for second hand giving in that it is a means to effectively pool resources and put people where they are most talented, but too often it allows people to not be concerned about the people they are helping.

    Giving certainly shouldn’t be impersonal.

  8. Rick, I must say that the things you have written here are things that the Lord has placed on my heart, too. I also have been trying to become independent from the world system these last few months and have started growing my own garden, although I realize that’s not going to be enough to feed anyone. I’m a bit poor myself and am going to try to go back to college to remedy that, but I’ve desired a communal living setting much like the earlier believers. :)

    I’m also poly friendly and would be desirous to find a wife or wives who can contribute to the “economy” or welfare of such a group. Is this something your family might be interested in? Its theory now, but the Lord has been confirming many things to me independently that you’ve been writing here on your blog and I would love to touch base with you. I’m sure you can see my email address? Feel free to contact me there.

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