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Friday 17 April 2020

What Does the Bible Say About Equality??

US Declaration of Independence

I have been intending to write a series of serious articles on the topic equality for some time now. A few things held me back. 1) I wanted to read some top scholars on the subject first. 2) I have shared many of my thoughts in various forums at different times with people, seeking to sharpen my thoughts on this subject. 3) I have read some other posts written by other people on this topic, and frankly, I considered their efforts to be quite valuable and knew I did not have to rush to break new ground…

…Yet for some of you reading this, it will be a radical idea. Which is kind of funny for a history enthusiast like me to think about. Historically speaking the idea of complete equality, is so radical and so new, as to surely show that those of us who have or do hold to it, are truly the radical ones. But this is also understandable, because we reflect the pond we grow up in, much more than the ones that preceded ours.

So, I am going to write a series of articles on this topic, beginning with the biblical perspective on equality, then we shall answer the question in the next article: Why is the west so obsessed with equality? Which shall give us our historical perspective. And then we will explore in a further article: Could equality ever even work?

I'll outline my thesis for you all very simply: there is no such thing as equality between people in history, in the Bible, in philosophy, in practice, or anywhere. As Vox Day would say, "Wishing for equality is like wishing for a unicorn."  This is simply because equality is like a unicorn, a wonderful idea, but it doesn’t exist. So, let’s now look at the bible’s take on equality.

God did not create all men equal, this idea that comes to us from Hobbes and Locke and will be explored in its historical context more thoroughly, in my second article. But essentially, for this piece, all we need to note, is that the founders of the US were not quoting the Bible when they said that all men were created equal, they were quoting Hobbes, as filtered through Locke. Hobbes invented the idea of political and social equality, what we call liberal equality, but in his version, everyone was equal in having no rights at all[1]. But even Hobbes’ version was purely hypothetical[2]. That is, that in the state of nature all men, and Hobbes’ meant only men, are equal[3].

Hobbes inspired Locke who wrote this:

"Sec. 4. TO understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man. A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty"[4] (Emphasis mine).

Note again, this hypothetical reality, which he bases equality on is not real. Locke says, “…there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties…” The exact opposite of what Locke says here is true, there is nothing more evident than that creatures are NOT born to “all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties.” Even two men or women born to the same social rank, or to the same family, have nowhere near the same advantages or faculties, and certainly the thing which is truly evident among human beings, is that we are born with an incredible diversity of advantage and faculties. No one is born with the same faculties. Some are stronger, some are smarter. Some are born alphas, some are betas, some sigmas, some gammas, some deltas. Some are natural leaders, others natural servants. Observation shows us the exact opposite of equal faculties, or equal power. Some people are blessed enough to be born smart, strong and fast. These people would have dominated in any hypothetical state of nature. People are self-evidently not born equal, in any way.

Locke inspired the US founders, the Aussie founders, and the US founders inspired our modern idea of equality, with the quote written above: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”[5].

But this is not taught in scripture, indeed the Bible rebukes the idea of equality, for example, it says this in Proverbs 30:21-23 - "21 Under three things the earth trembles; under four it cannot bear up: 22 a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is filled with food; 23 an unloved woman when she gets a husband, and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress."

This passage is both a repudiation of equality, and an observation that the earth cannot bear it. Why that is will become evident in my later blog posts, but let me say for now, this is simply because equality is so unnatural, it needs to be enforced to even get off the ground, and therefore great violence is required to achieve it – in all societies which have sought to achieve it. Why would we seek to force on the world, something which the Bible says, it cannot bear?

Indeed, right here, we are told the idea of a slave ruling over his king, or a maidservant ruling over her mistress, is an abhorrent thing. Yet it is something we Westerners have been trained to long for. You can see this entitlement in the way the Western people act in more traditional cultures. I remember watching an Australian current affairs news show some years ago, and the reporter, an Australian woman, was addressing a king of an African community, or village area. She refused to show him the respect he was due for his station, and was adamant he should respect her, some foreigner he did not even know, as an equal, even though she had with no respect or understanding of his culture, or his people’s customs. I never forgot this encounter, because I always wondered: why does she refuse to respect him at all? Because one-way people interpret the idea of respecting everyone, is to respect no one. Like the old joke – “I hate all people equally.” The Western worldview conditions all of us with a sense of entitlement other cultures find abhorrent. Indeed, it is a sense of entitlement those who built the West would have found abhorrent. Deference was once considered a great virtue. 
If you do a word search on the word equality in the Bible, you will see it is not used, ever, to say we are all equal. A word search in the ESV brings up twenty results. A search in the NIV brings up 28.

Most of the uses of the word in the ESV belong to weights or measurements, for example: Exodus 30:34 – “The Lord said to Moses, “Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part)…”

The closest to a statement of equality I found, using that word directly, was Psalm 55:13 - “But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.” This appears to be teaching equality, at least equality amongst men, but the context shows why this is not so: Psalm 55:12-14 - “12 For it is not an enemy who taunts me—then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 14 We used to take sweet counsel together; within God's house we walked in the throng.” This is David, complaining about a man who was his friend, who he considered his equal, generally how we feel and treat our friends, and comparing him to an enemy or adversary, the implication being, the adversary is not his equal, his friend. Who David is talking about we can only guess; he was betrayed by many in his life. But this passage does not support equality, as we conceive of it today – equality amongst all people, or even all men. Indeed, it specifically rebukes that idea, because David is showing us, that an enemy is not his equal. At least not in his eyes.

Even the NIV, which clearly has a more modern egalitarian bent in its translation, does not in any way have passages referring to the equality of all humanity. Because the Bible, Old Testament, or New does not use this word that way, but nor does it have the concept of human equality.

Indeed, it pushes us in the opposite direction. Here are two interesting examples, the least powerful one first.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 – “12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (NIV).

Paul here is pushing against false apostles, who have been accepted by the Corinthian church, and are claiming equality with Paul and his fellow missionaries. Paul explicitly rejects their idea of equality with his ministry. They fall far short, because they are false, they are agents of the devil. This comports fully with how we think of ministries: it is clear not all are equal. Nor are all pastors, teachers, leaders, musicians, evangelists, or really anyone else involved in ministry or any career, some lawyers are far better than others. And false teaching is not equal to true teaching. We should not treat those who push falsehood, equal to how we treat those who present truth. Paul is rebuking equality here, and he is doing it harshly, attributing those who falsely claim equality with his ministry with the devil. Which is not surprising, as this is the original sin of the devil, thinking himself equal with the Most High God.

The more powerful passage though is Philippians 2:5-7 – “5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

What are we being told here? We are being commanded, to have this “mind among yourselves” that is to imitate Jesus, who though being God did not see his equality with God the Father as something to be grasped, but rather took on the form of a servant. In other words, Paul here, again is directly rebuking our modern focus on equality, and instead telling us to focus on being servants, just like Jesus did. The one who served humanity in the best way possible by making a way for us all to be saved by dying on the cross.

In other word’s a rejection of the concept of equality is integral to the foundational ethic of the Christian life. It’s not a side issue, it’s not a debateable issue, it’s not an unclear issue. It is abundantly clear that rejecting equality is Christlike, and hence mandatory for a Christian worldview, and commanded of all of us. As Christians we should be seeking to be servants, and as Paul says earlier in this passage: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). The natural bent of the arrogant mind is for us to think we are our superior’s equals, or superior to our equals. Christ would tell us to repent of such thinking, as would Paul. 

More could be said on the usage of the language of equality in the scriptures, but I now want to turn to the concept of equality. Just because a word is not used, does not mean the concept is not present, and so I wish to address some of the more common arguments for the concept of equality being found in the Bible.

So, first, and genuinely, the most significant one, the Image of God
It’s common to hear people say, we are all equal, because we all have the divine spark. Or, we are all equal, because we are all created in the image of God. But how does the Bible itself handle this?

Being created in the image of God is about dignity, and capacity, not equality. After the fall this image was broken, but not completely lost. We know it was not completely lost, and contains the idea of dignity, because we read this in Genesis 9:5-6 –

“5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.’” (Emphasis mine).

God is requiring something more for the taking of the life of a human, than he requires for the life of an animal. All death is against the plan. But a human death is breaking that which contains God’s image. Therefore, the murder of a human must be punished with the life of the murderer. Now putting aside the arguments about the death penalty for today, that is for another article, this passage is clearly pointing to a higher dignity for mankind than of animal kind. Therefore, to have the image of God brings a certain level of dignity.
Indeed Psalm 8:3-8 picks up on the same idea:

“3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” (Emphasis mine).

In worshipping God, David here thinks of the curiosity that God could be mindful of such small creatures as man. But then he recalls, “5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour.” What makes man so special? He has a dignity that the other creatures do not have, therefore they are under the dominion of mankind. Though the term, “image of God”, is not used in this Psalm, David is harkening back to Genesis 1 and expanding on the themes contained within it. He clearly sees in Genesis the idea of dignity and capacity being contained in man’s creation. God has crowned humanity with “glory and honour”, dignity, and given him “dominion”, hence capacity also. These ideas are certainly implied in Genesis 1 and 2, but David’s reframing of them lends authority to this particular interpretation.

Indeed, the idea of the image of God, which is implied by the quote from the Declaration of Independence, being about equality, cannot be true, for this reason: people do not reflect the image of God equally. 

We are told this about Jesus of Nazareth in Colossians 1:13-15: “13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Jesus is the “image of the invisible God”, the one who most truly and accurately reflects God’s image. Hebrews 1:3 tells us the same thing: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” So, Jesus has the image of God, as he is God the Son, the Logos, the true one, and we are not equal to him, and no Christian would ever claim that we are.

But nor do we all equally reflect the image of Christ, which is the image of God, “29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). We need to be conformed more to the image of Christ, the image of God. We do not fully reflect it like he does, and this being conformed to his image only begins once we become believers and trust in him. It’s only those who are being justified, i.e., those who have repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus, and have been declared righteous in his sight, who are being conformed to his image. So, there is a sense in which believers reflect the image of God in a way that non-believers don’t. And there is a sense in which more mature believers reflect it in a way that less mature believers don’t.

So, to look to the image of God for equality is not supported by how the Bible handles the idea of the image of God. Therefore, the American founders, as great as they were, imported a meaning which does not belong there.

The next most powerful argument that egalitarians have is Galatians 3:28. Let’s read it in context, Galatians 3:25-29 -  

“25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.”

Ok, so this passage has been used like a battering ram to push equality, indeed when I typed in the word equality in, to do a word search on a couple of different translations, this passage came up as a suggested result. But this passage cannot be viewed as a support for the concept of equality of all people, because the verse clearly rebukes the idea of equality, because there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male nor female IN Christ. Only those who have faith, have that access, so it breaks humanity in two: believers and non-believers. So, no equality! In fact, again, this passage rebukes the idea of equality, because it creates two classes of people, the saved as opposed to the unsaved. Galatians 3:28 is simply about who can access Christ, all who believe, no matter their ethnicity, or gender.

To take Galatians 3:28 as talking about equality in the structure of the church or Christian relationships is not correct either, because many passages teach a hierarchical nature of relationships. Indeed, there is a brother verse of this one, in Colossians 3:11, which says, “11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” And just a few verses down from this one Paul then tells wives to submit to husbands, children to obey parents, and bondservants to obey their masters (Col. 3:18-22).

To take a passage about there being no racial, gendered, or tribal barriers to faith in Christ, and twisting it to say that all people are equal, or there is to be a destruction of the hierarchy in the church or the home, is to harm the word of God, and go against a whole array of passages, which clearly do not support the idea of equality. Some of which have been explored above. Others you can look at are Numbers 30, 1 Corinthians 11:1-3, Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Peter 3:1-7, among many more.

There is no basis for egalitarianism in Christianity, or Mosaic law.

Indeed, various sayings of Jesus highlight this.

For example, the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14-15, speaking of the kingdom of God, Jesus tells us, “14 For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.” The master does not equally delegate to his servants, because his servants are not equally capable of handling the master’s resources. Any employer in history has observed this phenomenon, indeed even if the employees are their own children, they will see this. We are not all born equal. Indeed, I often am amazed at the inherent capability in some people I know. It is a marvel to behold at times.  

Similar concepts can be drawn from other parables of Jesus. For instance, the sheep and the goats – “31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left” (Matthew 25:31-33). The sheep and the goats do not get considered equally or treated equally, nor do the wheat and the tares, “Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn’” (Matthew 13:30). Inequality is built into the Christian faith. Indeed, it is part of the message of the evangelist: submit to the one who is Lord, so he treats you as a subject, rather than as an enemy.

The first shall be last, and the last shall be first (Matt. 20:16), Esau God hated Jacob he loved (Rom. 9:13), and many other passages drive home the same point. God does not consider everyone equal; he does not ask us to consider ourselves equal to each other, and his word does not push for equality. As has been already mentioned, the Bible pushes us to not consider ourselves as more than we are, but seek to be servants, as Jesus said, “…and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:44). Equality is not the ethos of Christianity, and it is not surprising that Christianity has continued to go further and further off the rails in the West, as it is more and more driven by anti-Christian ideologies.

So, if Christ explicitly did not see his equality as something to be grasped, and if Christianity does not teach it, why are we obsessed with it?

Simple, we too often follow Lucifer…wait what?...where am I coming from here…? Well what did Satan, the accuser, the deceiver, the Son of the Dawn offer to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? You guessed it equality:

“3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5).

What is the devil offering Adam and Eve here? Well one way to look at this is he is offering them equality with God. Which is how the ESV renders it here. No Bible believing egalitarian would think that a human should be this presumptuous. So egalitarians and patriarchists are on the same page here; to reach for equality with God, is evil. But there is another way to look at it, which is captured by the King James Version translation, and fits better within the context of certain other passages, and the modus operandi of the devil himself. The KJV renders verse 5: “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Emphasis mine). 

The differences in these renderings simply come down to how to handle the Hebrew. As this is not an exegetical essay, I will not go into details about why this is the case, it is sufficient to show that KJV rendering is not inaccurate, it is just showing a different summation of the grammar. As Hartley[6] says, the devil is seeking to argue that “God was protecting himself by keeping them from knowledge that would raise their status to that of gods, or heavenly beings.” The devil was lying to them and arguing that eating the fruit “would bring them divine, esoteric knowledge”[7].

I prefer the KJV rendering because it stands to reason that it was much more likely that the devil was offering that they should become gods (little g) rather than like the creator. Adam and Eve were created perfect, they would not have been idiots. If Satan is however saying, “You can be like me, one of the heavenly beings, or the benoy Elohim (sons of God)”, then this makes a lot more sense of why they fell into temptation. This was a reachable goal, and it was also a tempting offer. The devil specializes in offering more power, indeed he has the gumption to offer something similar to Jesus, while he was in the wilderness being tempted (Matt 4:8-10). But even a conman must be believable for the con to have any success. But why is this significant? Well an exploration of who the sons of God are helps with answering this.

(For a more in-depth view, read Michael S. Heiser’s Unseen Realm). The “sons of God” were there when God made the world, they are created beings, angels, though more accurately called arch-angels. Job 38:4-7 tells us:

“4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Emphasis mine).

The sons of God, or morning stars as they are also called here, are the heavenly court, the divine council, as Psalm 82 explains to us; “1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment…6 I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; 7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.’” The word translated gods here is simply ‘elohim’, it can be variously translated ‘God’, ‘gods’, ‘mighty ones’, ‘heavenly beings’, depending on the context. Some of these glorious ones (Jude 1:8), had set themselves up as gods, and had therefore stepped out of their proper place and were punished. As Jude 1:6 tells us: “And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.”

These morning stars reflect, to a lesser degree, the glory of God. We see a description of such an angel in Revelation 10:1-3 -  

“1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.”

The angel described here reflects the glory of Jesus described in Revelation 1:12-16. That which worships in the presence of Christ, becomes more like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18, 1 John 3:1-3). Which is amazing to think about.   

I say all this, to highlight this, Satan was counted amongst these sons of God – Job 1:6 - “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” And Job 2:1 - “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord.” (Emphasis mine).

The traditional view of the church, and Judaism, is that Satan was one of the most glorious angels. You can read a description of him in Ezekiel 28:11-19. Just like these other “heavenly beings” Satan was created to serve God, and worship God. All that was created, was created for this purpose. But instead, Satan wanted to be the Most High, as Isaiah 14:12 says,

“12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north…”

Another translation for ‘day star’ is ‘morning star’, some translations follow the ancient Latin, and translate it Lucifer, hence where that particular name for Satan comes from, “12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” (Isaiah 14:12, KJV).

So, what was Lucifers crime? What was his sin? He wanted to be equal with the Most High God:13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north…” (Isaiah 14:13). To sit in the highest reaches of the north, is to sit on the highest seat, to be the greatest divinity. The gall of Satan, to think he could be God. This truly is pride at its worst.

We have seen already that the angels can be biblically called morning stars, as this was a term of glory in the ancient near East. And angels do emit glory, only to a much lesser degree than God himself. But, and this is key, there is only one “bright morning star”: Revelation 22:16 - “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Emphasis mine). Jesus is the bright morning star. The glory an angel displays, is simply the reflection of the great and truly glorious one, God himself. Indeed, the glory that man reflects, is again is simply a reflection of God's glory in lesser degree. Hence why we are said to have the image of God, we are smaller, lesser, mortal reflections of the divine. We were created to mirror him in this world.

Lucifer’s sin then was as a morning star, to seek to exalt himself up to be as great as THE bright morning star. He literally was so full of his own glory that he thought he could outshine his creator. Pride of self-exaltation was his sin. And pride of self-exaltation is at the heart of sin. And Isaiah is using an ancient understanding of the fall of the devil, to describe also the wicked pride of the King of Babylon, because many kings have thought the same way Lucifer does. Indeed, even we ordinary, run of the mill humans, want to lift up ourselves as more than we are: this is why equality is so attractive for us. And if we can’t lift ourselves to up to be on the same level of some others, we are often content to get equality by bringing others down. We Australians call this tall-poppy syndrome. It’s also behind the ethos of Socialism, but more of that in a later article.

What we can clearly see, though, is that whichever way you look at it, equality is Satanic in the strict sense of that word, therefore egalitarianism is evil. And it is no surprise that the church continues to go hard off track, the more it goes down egalitarian route.

As we conclude, let’s compare Christ to Lucifer:

Lucifer being not God, saw equality with God as something to presumptuously reach for, and hence fell, and became demonic.

Jesus “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

Which is more Christian? The answer is so obvious I shouldn’t really have to ask the question. Except for the fact that we have made a Luciferian ideal a Christian one. Hence, I need to ask this question as well: why have we done this, and why has it over taken our faith so thoroughly? I will explore this in my next two articles on this topic.

For now, let me say this, what does the Bible teach about equality? That we should reject it as a Christian ideal. Because it stands against what the Bible teaches. As long as Christians continue to interpret Christianity through the lens of a Luciferian ideal, we will bring harm to our understanding of God’s word, the nature of his church, the nature of human relationships, and we will continue to harm wider society as a result. It’s time for a massive reset. Equality has done enough harm, let’s lay the idea to rest.

[1] Martin Van Creveld, 2015, Equality the Impossible Quest, Castalia House, Finland, Kindle Edition: Introduction.
[2] Ibid: Chapter 11.
[3] Ibid: Chapter 5.
[4] John Locke, 1689, “Two Treatises on Government” in 7 Works, Kindle Edition, Chapter 2: The State Of Nature.
[5] US Declaration of Independence,, accessed 10/04/2020.
[6] John E. Hartley, 2000, New International Biblical Commentary: Genesis, Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusetts: p66.
[7] Ibid: p66.

All Bible references are from the ESV translation, unless specified otherwise. 

Special thanks to my brother Adam, for a quick edit and comments. 

Monday 6 April 2020

That Which We Fear Will Rule Us

How are you all feeling right about now? This is a strange time. We are being asked to go about our lives, in a way, we are not super used to.

There are some great aspects to this social distancing situation. Families are being brought together to spend more time with each other. By government decree we are less busy and made to stay at home more. And thankfully we are in the one of the safest countries in the world, with the one of the best possible hospital systems to prepare for any medical crisis.  

I have to admit, I am not overly concerned about the virus. If you look into the figures, this is not the existential threat that it is being made out to be. Sweden have not locked down their country, and they are in good shape. Some countries around the world are re-opening, and no longer considering this a pandemic. The long-term danger of this virus, is looking lower than initially predicted.  

But the danger to the economy is likely to be devastating for some time to come. Entire countries have ground to a halt, not because of the virus, but because of fears about the possibility of the virus. Initially I thought some of the lockdown measures put in place were good things. Limiting who could travel here from overseas seemed wise. Shutting the nation’s borders seemed wise. But now we are in a very severe lockdown, that is going to, and already is putting an extreme strain on businesses, services and all other aspects of our economy. A lot of people think the government can pick up the slack, but where does the government get money to pay for everything it does? From us, the citizens, our buying and selling makes up the economy. So, without going into detail, we are going to learn in the next few months, if the government’s cure for this virus, mass lockdowns of society are better or worse than the virus itself.

So, there are many reasons why people might be anxious, afraid, or otherwise worried at this time. The future is always uncertain, but at least we had our plans right. Well now they are almost entirely out the window. So, this morning I want to speak into the topic of fear. Last week I mentioned the verse: 2 Timothy 1:7 - “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” But now I want to explore the importance of not giving into fear, because, and this is very important, that which we fear will rule us. I want us to hear God’s word on this issue and have him refresh our minds.

1.   Do Not Be Anxious (Matthew 6:25-34) – Now I know there are people out there with anxiety disorders, and who are on medication for it and I know that being told: just don’t be anxious doesn’t work for you, I get that. But still I want us to hear Jesus’ words this morning: “25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
1.1  Ok, we’ve heard Jesus’ word, now let’s ask some questions: does being anxious help us in anyway? I think there is one, and I will get to that in a moment. But the general answer is no.
1.1.1       Anxiety steals from us in the moment. Anxiety is damaging our present, to worry about our future. How many of us have seen a person tapping their fingers, glancing constantly at their phones as though waiting for a call, or losing their temper, and acting all in a huff, simply because they are anxious over something that is not certain.
1.1.2       As Jesus says, “27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Does anxiety improve our experience of good times or bad times? Indeed, bad times are made more bearable, and indeed even instructive, by seeking to learn from them, rather than worry in the midst of them.
1.1.3       I personally am in disagreement about these social distancing measures, and I have even spoken and written various different arguments against them online and in person. But I also have actively taken the time to think of all the good things this forced sabbath is doing to us.  Think about this, all our good clothes are going to last a whole extra year. Cause we aren’t going out anywhere.  More seriously, I like not having to be so many places. About three weeks ago, I felt like this year was already getting on top of me, now, not so much.  There will be different challenges, but I am thankful for the good things that are happening.
1.1.4       What would be the point of me worrying, I can’t change the Prime Ministers mind, I am just a small time Baptist pastor.
1.2  What Jesus says here, is about to become more real for a lot of us: “25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?... 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
1.2.1       As westerners when we worry about what we eat, it’s usually more to do with our fussiness rather than our hunger. But this financial crisis is going to put new strains on our ability to acquire the things we like, and the things we might even need.
1.2.2       An ancient Israelite though, hearing this, would have been familiar with hunger. And familiar with being in need. All it takes is a cursory glance at the waste bands of the average Aussie, to know that we have a while to go before we are experiencing their level of need.
1.2.3       But Jesus promises to provide for us.  Let me share a personal story with you. At various times in our ministry, I have taken roles, not knowing how much I would necessarily earn, joyfully. Ministry is more to me than the pay-check. But God has provided for us in various ways. He has been good to us.  Do not be anxious, trust him, he will provide.   
1.3  There is one way in which anxiety can help us: Anxiety can tell us that we need a change of environment, job, or relationship. From time to time in ministry I come across people who are suffering from anxiety, many of whom are on medication, and once you get to know them a little better, you understand why they are anxious.
1.3.1       One woman I knew who had anxiety was living with a very toxic, bullying roommate. After she moved out the anxiety faded. She was also on meds for the anxiety, but my money was on the moving being what really helped it – because I saw how it changed her.  
1.3.2       Another person I knew had been married for over a decade and never had sex. That was a damaged relationship. I understood why this person was anxious.
1.3.3       Sometimes it is abuse, sometimes it is toxicity in a relationship, it can be many things. Strife leads to anxiety, as Proverbs 17:1 says, “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” Or, Proverbs 22:10 – “Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.”
1.4  Other than being a warning sign, anxiety doesn’t add to our life, and even in a hard time, we are better to look to what we can learn, rather than let our fear rule us. Because if we let fear rule us, then that is when things can get gnarly.

    2. That Which We Fear Will Rule Us – “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Classical tyrants like to take power over their people with fear. Like the Ozymandias of Shelley’s poem, they often saw themselves as great and invincible in their days. Ozymandias was the Greek name for Ramesses II, who considered himself to be a mighty one.
2.1  Percy Shelley’s Poem, titled, Ozymandias is sonnet teaching us this message: even the mightiest kings, and their works, return to dust. He may have thought all should despair at his works, but now they are ruins.
2.1.1       Kings great and small of old, and often the elites of our day, like to instill fear in people, to condition people to listen to them, obey them, and not challenge them.
2.1.2       Because they know, that which we fear, will rule us, because fear conditions us to respond a certain way –
2.2  Drill sergeants use a combination of fear, exhaustion, pressure, and making cadets feel like fools, to break men down, and turn them into soldiers.
2.2.1       The bouncing back and forth of feeling afraid, what did I do wrong? And of feeling foolish, how did I stuff up? Condition the cadet to hang off of every word of their instructor.
2.2.2       This is vital if they are going to listen to commands in battle. The mind must be conditioned to not question, but to obey. The reason it must be conditioned this way, is because the natural state of our minds is to question man, rather than obey man.
2.3  Abusers do the same thing: Abusers use fear, exhaustion, things like drugs, and other stuff, to keep their victims off balance and loyal to them. Moira Greyland talks about this in her book the Last Closet.
2.3.1       Even though both her mum and dad had abused her, she was loyal to them, and would even defend them. Right up until her early 20’s. This is common for abuse victims, because they have been conditioned by fear to listen to those who harm them. To seek to please them. Or seek to show themselves worthy of them.
2.3.2       It took her a long time to break out of this. And even longer to heal.
2.4  Our elites use fear today to condition us. Things like the news, social media, and other things, can be used very well to make us fearful, and respond in a certain way. Remember these lyrics from The Skyhooks Song: Horror Movie: 
2.4.1       Watch horror movie right there on my tv
Horror movie right there on my tv
Horror movie right there on my tv
Shockin' me right out of my brain
Shockin' me right out of my brain

It's bound to get ya in, get ya under your skin
Hit you right on the chin, oh yeah
It's bound to be a thriller, it's bound to be a chiller
It's bound to be a killer, oh yeah

It's a horror movie right there on my tv
Horror movie right there on my tv
Horror movie and there's known abuse
Horror movie, it's the six-thirty news
Horror movie, it's the six-thirty news
2.4.2       In other words, the Skyhooks told you the purpose of the news decades ago: to use fear to condition you, so you respond how they want in a time of crisis. “Horror movie and there’s known abuse, Horror movie, it’s the six-thirty news.”
2.5  The elites of the world, use fear to condition their populations. Fear of all sorts of things. This is not new. It is not radical. It is not even controversial, whether it is Ozymandias, Caesar, or our modern governments, elites, exist to instil fear in their population to control, as Romans 13:3-4 says, “3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.”
2.5.1       To a certain degree they have even been ordained with this power, to instil fear in the wicked, for the good of their populations. But the problem is, somewhere along the way, they worked out, that populations conditioned by fear are easier to control.  So, they provide us with a constant stream of it. Because they know: That Which We Fear Will Rule Us.  Governments of all stripes desire compliance. Even, as we have seen recently, nice, softer western ones. The nature of government, the nature of media, the nature of elites, is to instill fear.

      3. This Is Why We Are To fear God Alone – This is why the Bible says over and over again, in probably a thousand ways and more, that we should fear God, and God alone.
3.1  I only really started to understand this fully recently. What we fear, is what rules us, so the commands to fear God really are about where we put our allegiance, not about actual fear.
3.1.1       Don’t misunderstand me, if you are not saved, God is a terror, a consuming fire. But if you trust in him, that fear is more like an awe of what he can do, rather than a fear of what he might do to you.
3.2  Let’s look at a few ways the Bible teaches us this:
3.2.1       Matthew 10:28-31 –“28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
3.2.2       1 John 4:17-19 – “17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.”
3.2.3       Exodus 20:18-20 – “18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.”
3.2.4       Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
3.2.5       Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”
3.2.6       Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
3.2.7       Proverbs 14:26 – “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”
3.3  All these passages are teaching the same thing: put your fear, your allegiance not in great kings like Ozymandias, or petty kings like our modern bureaucratic democratic leaders, but in the Lord God, who can destroy both the body and soul in hell.
3.3.1       I would summarize the fear of God this way: To fear the Lord is to know what he would do to you in judgement, if you were not one of his children, and being in awe of the grace he gives you instead.
3.3.2       Like a lion, who chooses to make you its protected vassal, instead of its meal – like Aslan.
3.4  What we fear rules us: do you fear the Lord, or do you fear the things of this world? Because it’s either or, you will be controlled by one or the other.

      4.So How Does This Apply Now? There are several applications for our current situation:
4.1  God tells us to follow just laws of the land – scripturally governments have the right and power to enforce quarantines in times of pestilence. I personally think our nation has gone too far. But this is irrelevant. As a law abiding citizen, I will obey, and I suggest you do to.
4.2  The government does not however, have the right to command us to do unrighteous things. This lockdown is for the good of society, it is society wide, and therefore we should adhere to it. If however, they were shutting down churches, and leaving pubs, clubs and strip clubs open, then I would say we should civilly disobey.
4.2.1       However, that is not our situation. So, until such a time as that changes, we have a biblical duty to be good citizens.
4.3  But we also must remain skeptical. We as Christians need to never forget, that the spirit of Ozymandias resides in all governments to one degree or another, and we need to be prepared to follow God’s way, over the world’s way, when they collide.
4.4  Lastly, clear your home of all sources of worldly fear. Whether that is the news media, or people on social media pushing fear, or negative fear pushers in your life. You’ll do yourself a world of favours by shutting them off and ignoring them.

     5. Conclusion - We are people of the victorious king. Whether this whole situation blows over, and turns out to be another blip, or whether it turns out to be worst case scenario, at the end of the day, our hope is in the immortal God, who has given us to share in his immortality. Our hope is in him. We will be victorious my friends, one way, or the other. Praise God. Let’s pray.