Understanding the Ideological War between Humanistic State Governments and God’s Kingdom
May 5, 2014
There are many good evangelical leaders who believe that having big government is good as long as it aids the poor, supports their non-profit community programs, and perpetuates what they define as social justice. These evangelical leaders also note the state helps churches because it grants them tax exempt status. Also, I have dear friends serving as political leaders who see big government as a means to cure social ills. In this article I am not questioning their motives or saying that everything they are doing is evil.
What I will discuss here are the basic ideals that may take decades to implement and that will only become reality if the church develops political and economic leaders with a biblical worldview as part of their cultural mission.
Furthermore, the current political and evangelical leaders promoting big government as mentioned above are operating with the ideology and theology handed down to them by their pastors and mentors. Thus, I have nothing personally against them but feel compelled to tackle some of the root differences I have with programs like ObamaCare and overreaching federal government in general.
The following article is meant to help us understand why a large, centrally-controlled state government is actually a rival kingdom to the Kingdom of Christ.
From the beginning of human history when in Genesis 4:17 Cain built a city after he fell away from God (a city in this context implies a rival kingdom with its own set of laws, morals, economics and social values), to the men of Babel who attempted to build a tower that reached into heaven (to demonstrate their humanistic autonomy over/against the rule of God) we find that God’s judgment eventuates in the collapse of any autonomous humanistic system. In the case of Babel, God’s judgment included the use of diversity to such a degree that they no longer had enough unity to sustain their forward motion. (This sounds like the United States with our present emphasis on diversity and multiculturalism!) Hence, God’s blessing will not be upon any state or system of government that declares its independence from the rule of God.
In the book of Exodus God judged the Egyptians because of the economic bondage they imposed upon God’s covenant people. The preamble of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1 shows that God delivered the Israelites from the house of slavery so they could worship Him. This teaches us that economics (the ability to set your own hours, own your own property, support the work of God and make sacrifices to Him) and the worship of God go hand-in-hand. It wasn’t until the Israelites were out of slavery that they were able to obey the first commandment of having no other gods before God. This gives us more understanding of why God spoke to Pharaoh through Moses “to let my people go that they can worship me” (Exodus 5:1, 9:1). Thus, we see again the truth that any state government attempting to control the economics of a people inhibits worship of the one true God, becomes a rival kingdom to the Kingdom of God, and will eventually experience the judgment of God.
We see this same principle in macro form when God showed the Hebrew prophet Daniel that the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome were all rival kingdoms that would eventually be judged by His kingdom which is destined to fill the whole earth (Read Daniel 2:31-35, 44-45; 7:15-18). God even judged Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and made him act like a beast for seven years until he acknowledged that “the Most High rules over the kingdom of men and gives it to whomsoever He will” (Daniel 4:25, 34-37).
Note these examples show that humankind has a historical tendency to build its own kingdoms with its own religious systems, morals, economics, and gods as a way to demonstrate human autonomy and throw off the restraints put upon them by the Most High God (read Psalm 2). Please note this has more to do with who we as humans systemically set up to serve (and worship) than mere morality and being a “good person.” Even under the rule of Hitler or the antichrist-like figure Nero Caesar of Rome it was still against the law to commit murder, steal, etc. The existence of morality or having a program to help the poor is not the bottom line; that concerns the second of the Great Commandments (Matthew 22:37-40). The acknowledgement of His laws and reliance upon His providence is the bottom line.
Furthermore, when we examine the New Testament we find the primary reason Jesus was crucified was not because He preached a different religion but because He was a rival king, inaugurating a new kingdom that would be a rival to the worship of Caesar and the Roman state. King Herod was troubled when King Jesus was born and attempted to kill him (Matthew 2:1-3, 16). The Jews convinced Pilate to crucify Jesus after they told him that if he released Jesus he would not be a friend to Caesar (John 19:12-16). In John 18:35-38 Jesus told Pilate that His main purpose on the earth was to come as a king (in fulfillment of Psalm 2:8-9). Jesus called His followers the “ekklesia” which was a Greek word equivalent to the congress or parliament who would rule in His kingdom with Him as King of Kings (Revelation 19:16; Matthew 16:18) and assail the kingdoms (or gates) of the world system (Matthew 16:18). The political implications of the advent of Christ and His ekklesia demonstrate that biblical dominion in culture cannot ultimately co-exist with a growing secular government that infringes upon the biblical rights of citizens.
Revelation 13 teaches us that the beast (representing the large central government of the Roman Empire) was an enemy against the saints of God that stopped people from buying and selling unless they had the mark of the beast on their foreheads (a biblical metaphor to signify unison in thought and ideology with a large central humanistic government). Those looking for a literal mark of the beast in the future don’t realize that humanists have been dominating “buying and selling” and the economy since 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank which controls interest rates and all major banks, thus controlling politics and the economy.
Basically, a kingdom acts like a beast under judgment when it overreaches and violates the five separate governments God has established in scripture: individual responsibility, family, business, civil government, and the church. When a national government focuses on keeping civil order and punishing evil doers it is blessed of God (Romans 13:1-7) but once it begins to command individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance it violates its jurisdiction. Once it practically forces godless, public education down the throats of parents through high taxation it is taking the responsibility of educating children away from parents and putting it into the hands of humanistic academic bureaucrats and systems.
Those who say that the enlarged federal government in the United States--along with all its huge entitlement programs--are godly and perpetuate Christian values don’t understand why Jesus was crucified and don’t understand the judgment of God against rival kingdoms throughout human history!
Practically speaking, how is the present large state government a rival government at war against the church? When the state charges high taxes to support public schools it is a rival kingdom because it mitigates against the thousands of Christian parents who can’t afford to put their children in private schools that teach Bible-based curriculum because they pay such a large percentage of income taxes to support state-run schools. In addition, these public schools teach evolution, humanism, and attempt to debunk the Bible--especially in the first year of college. Also, private Christian schools usually lack high academic achievement because they cannot afford to hire quality teachers and pay competitive salaries because parents cannot afford higher tuition since they are forced to support humanistic government-controlled schools through taxation.
Furthermore, social security is the biggest Ponzi scheme in human history (Bernie Madoff had a great teacher!) and will soon be insolvent. Medicare and Medicaid are already bringing down our economy and cannot sustain themselves, which is one of the reasons for the new health care reform. Thus, proponents of the new heath care reform who use social security and Medicaid as examples of great social programs have “drank the kool-aid” and are willing to sell out future generations to pacify the needs of the present generation!
(Instead of paying 15% of our incomes into social security we would be better off investing 15% of our incomes in private investments and retirement accounts. But then that would take a huge revenue base away from Uncle Sam because the federal government spends social security for things other than retirement benefits. The social security those retired presently enjoy is not from the monies they themselves paid into the program but is derived from what those presently working are putting in now! Hence, it’s a Ponzi scheme that will soon collapse since retired people are living longer and there are not enough present workers to pay into the system.)
The monies that the state and federal government give to faith-based outreaches are mere “crumbs that fall off the master’s table” meant to pacify the church, with the majority of state monies given to perpetuate institutions that promote their own values and agendas (so-called social justice programs, diversity programs, environmental programs, ACORN, hospitals that practice abortion, and the like).
Those who note that churches are exempt from paying taxes as an example of the state helping churches forget the church had to sell its soul in the 1950’s when it passively allowed laws that made illegal preaching on politics from the pulpit in exchange for keeping tax-exempt status. Thus, the church is tax-exempt as long as it doesn’t mess with politics and economics, the two main steering wheels of the world. The federal government is happy as long as it continues to expand, throws the church a few crumbs, and is able to perpetuate humanism unopposed politically and economically because its rival kingdom is happy with these crumbs and values political correctness more than the fear of the Lord and obeying the Cultural Commission of Genesis 1:28.
Finally, those who attempt to justify the socialistic tendencies of big government by using the nation of Israel as an example, since Israel collectively used the tithe to help the poor, fund health programs, and protect the environment don’t understand two major things:
1. The tithe, the poll tax, and other taxes Israel collected probably didn’t even come close to 20% of the average family’s income. So their tax burden doesn’t compare to the enormous amount middle-class families currently pay with the progressive tax structure imposed by the IRS. Jesus said that where our treasure is that’s where our heart is. Thus, our tithe and first fruits only belong to God; any nation that extracts more than the tithe (10%) becomes a rival kingdom to the Kingdom of God.
(Please note: I am not opposed to paying taxes to the state. What I am opposed to is the progressive tax structure that is nothing more than a redistribution of wealth! We must obey the scriptures and pay our taxes even if we don’t agree with the law. But we must work hard to gradually change the tax structure by training political leaders with a Christian worldview.)
2. The collective economy and politics of the state of Israel was only blessed because they were a theocracy under Jehovah. The moment they turned to the worship of false gods they were judged. Thus, using Israel as an example of a country with nationalized social programs misses the point because, even if their taxation rate was as high as the United States, they were not humanistic in the days of their prosperity--they were monotheistic! Adjusting the tax rate is a minor problem compared to the rival religious system our nation has set up.
Finally, if we as a nation were to again favor God as espoused by the first four of the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 (not forced conversions but favoring Christianity as the Founding Fathers did by protecting it from the state as shown in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) and base our laws on the last six of the Ten Commandments then we as a nation will enjoy the blessing of God and will secure our place as a super power for generations to come!
In understanding the call of God for God’s covenant people to have dominion over the created order (Genesis 1:28) we must come to the conclusion there is no room for two kingdoms on the earth! Either the kingdom of men or the Kingdom of God will have dominion! Whereas Cain built a city after he fell away from God, the City of God is gradually coming down out of heaven from God and will fill the whole earth as the church propagates the Gospel in every realm of life! Choose whom you will have allegiance to--either Caesar or Christ--but it cannot be both!
Joseph Mattera has been in full-time church ministry since 1980 and is currently the Presiding Bishop of Christ Covenant Coalition and Overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York. He is also serving as the United States Ambassador for the International Coalition of Apostles, and as one of the founding presiding bishops of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches.