Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

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The Kingdoms of Satan

Posted on February 02, 2014 by Alexander
kingdoms of Satan

All the governments of the world belong to Satan.

Mat 4:8 – 11
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

The Governments of the World

The usual understanding of this verse is that we are to worship God. What is overlooked is that when Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, Jesus did not refute Satan in his authority to give him the kingdoms of the world. In other words, all governments belong to to Satan.

This creates a contradiction in doctrine.  We are routinely told to “obey all governments” based upon Romans 13:1 & 2 which says

Rom 13:1 – 2  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

If Satan owns all the kingdoms of the world, are we being told by Paul to obey Satan because God has ordained Satan to rule the world? Any thinking person will realize that would be utter nonsense to think that way.

Jesus said:

The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. (Joh_7:7)

That is to say, Satan and the people of the world hate Jesus, thus are contrary to the will of God.

The apostle John tells us:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1Jn_2:15 )

If the world hates God and we are not to love the world, how then can Paul tell us to obey the governments, which are hostile to God and serve Satan?

Paul tells us that we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), we are members of the kingdom of God (Heb. 12:28) and that we are called to walk worthy of the kingdom (1 Thes. 2:12).  As I read the Bible, I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God now.  How then can I submit to two different kingdoms? Ambassadors live in a foreign land and are courteous to the laws of the host country, but are not subject to those laws since they are not citizens of those countries. They have diplomatic immunity.

Jesus said that we can not serve two masters, we can not serve God and mammon (Matt 6:24 and Luke 16:13).  What is the purpose of governments? One purpose is to create wealth for its citizens.  We can not, therefore, serve two governments.

What then could Paul have meant in Romans 13? I think the answer lies in two stories regarding Jesus.   At one point the Pharisees and the Saducees wanted to trap Jesus. The story reads as follows.

Mat 22:15 – 17  Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.   And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.   Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

Mat 22:18 – 20  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?   Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.  And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

Mat 22:21  They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Mat 22:22  When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

This passage is often cited to justify obedience to governments, but the context is disregarded.  This is not a teaching from Jesus like the Sermon on the Mount. This is an illustration of His wisdom in avoiding their trap.  That is the lesson we are to take away from the story: we obey the lawful laws to avoid being trapped by Satan.

Note that there is a difference between lawful and legal laws.  For example,  abortion murders a child in the womb, which is legal but not lawful.

This second story illustrates two more points on the subject.

Mat 17:24  And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
Mat 17:25  He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
Mat 17:26  Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Mat 17:27  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

In this case it is not taxes to Caesar, but the Temple tax. Jesus tells Peter that children of the King do not pay taxes to the King… in this case the King of the Kingdom of God. However, Jesus still paid the tribute. Why? Because He did not want to “offend” them.  The Greek word here is “skandalizo” which means “to entrap, that is, trip up (figuratively stumble [transitively] or entice to sin”. Jesus did not want to create an occaision for the Jews who misunderstood the Kingdom to stumble.  Similar to Paul exhorting us in Romans 14 to do nothing to cause a brother with a weak conscience and faith to sin (Rom. 14:13).

As children of another kingdom we are not obligated to pay taxes to a foreign country.  However, if we reside in that country we observe the lawful customs to avoid entrapment and to not cause another to stumble.

The Government of God

American Christians spend an inordinate  amount of time (myself included) fretting over the governments of the world, and woefully too little time understanding the government of God.

Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian author of “War and Peace,” “Anna Karenina,” and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”  was also a writer of Christian theology.  He caused a stir in Russia and Europe when he published his book “What I Believe” and its follow up response to critics, “The Kingdom of God is Within You.”   These books of his had a profound impact on both Martin Luther King, Jr and Ghandi, specifically on his explanation of Jesus statement on non-resistance to evil (Matt. 5:39).

Organized religion has taught that we must obey the laws of Moses which is blended with grace of Jesus Christ.  This is oil and water which do not in truth blend.  Paul made it very clear to the Romans that the Mosaic law was given to magnify sin, not to create righteousness (Rom. 5:20).  Tolstoy believes that Jesus tells us how to live according to the laws of the Kingdom of God in the Sermon on the Mount in chapter 5 of Matthew.  He analyzes verses 21-49 breaking them up into 5 “commandments”.

  1. Verses 21 – 26 No Anger.  That is no one is to be regarded as less than anyone else, and anger is a type of murder.
  2. Verses 27 – 32 Stay Married.  He argues that the exception clause for “fornication” is a 5th century interpolation. Marriage is for life with no divorce at all.
  3. Verses 33 – 37 No Oaths.  Which he argues means to any government activity.  Not in court, not in military service or any government allegiance.
  4. Verses 38 – 42  Non Resistance.  That is, not to fight back nor make retribution.  If the government compels you to do something that is lawful (not necessarily legal), then we are to do it.  We are not to comply with unlawl compulsion, however, which means going to jail or paying penalities if that is the consequence of non-compliance.
  5. Verses 43- 48 No War. He argues that loving your enemies is understood in the sense that to the Jews, their neighbors were their fellow Jews, whereas their enemies were all the rest of the world.  There is no Mosaic command to “hate our enemies”.  Rather it was developed from exodus in their requirement to kill all the Caananites.  From Tolstoy’s understanding, we are not to serve in the military to murder people at the command of any government.

In my youth during the Vietnam war there were still many who refused the draft based on the CO, that is, conscientious objection. I have heard  of no one seeking this refusal since that time. It had been a part of American history to respect religious deference. Today, Christian youth eagerly sign up for military duty thinking patriotism is equal to religious faith. I tend to agree with Tolstoy on this point.

Since we are citizens of another country, the Kingdom of God, whose laws are expressions of agape love (unconditional love for all), these government conflicts called wars do not involve the Kingdom of God.

Biblical Anarchy

I am not fully convinced of Tolstoy’s position, but I think it merits serious consideration.  One thing for sure, I am convinced that the structure of the Kingdom of God is antithetical to the structure of the kingdoms of this world and that all governments are governed by Satan.

All creatures of creation, angels and demons included with mankind and the animal kingdom, are finite beings.  Hierarchal structure in organization of man and demon is a consequential necessity of finite beings.  No one person can be in all places at all times, so delegation of responsibility and authority is required.

Not so with the Kingdom of God. There is no need for hierarchy with God for He can and does see and speak to each and every individual being since He is omnipresent.  French lawyer and theologian, Jacque Ellul, makes the case for biblical anarchy in his article in Katallagete magazine entitled, “Anarchism and Christianity” (Fall 1980).

Anarchy as a word conjures thoughts of violent rebellion.  But that is not what it means literally.  It simply means “without hierarchy”.  The Kingdom of God has no hierarchy since God does not need it.  What hierarchy we see in organized religion is men attempting to apply the ways of the world on the body of Christ.

In an earlier post I pointed out that during the time of the Judges when there was no government to speak of, the amount of harm that was done paled in insignificance compared to the evil and damage done during the time of the Kings of Israel.

R.J. Rummel has compiled a massive tome of statistics in his book, “Death by Government” that shows that the more power a leader has, the more citizens of their own countries die. During the 20th century he shows that the genocide of a leader’s own people out numbers all the wars of the 20th century combined. His argument is that those countries with democratic governments tend to be least harmful to its people, whereas the communist and fascist governments are more deadly.  I would argue that the United States is increasingly becoming more fascist.  As Lord Acton said,  “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Conclusion

I stopped voting years ago because I saw the futility in participating in a rigged game, not because I understood Tolstoy’s opinions. I pay taxes to avoid tangling with the IRS, not because of biblical conviction.

Because I believe that God deals with us all individually, nor would I say that God has not called some into government participation. Which is not to say, I find that in contradiction to what Tolstoy teaches, either. Because we all have different journeys in our life of grace, I can see seasons of some people’s lives where God allows such involvement.

I do not participate in government, but it is clear from both John the Baptist and Jesus himself that we are still required to speak the truth to this evil world. But Jesus did not resist the kangaroo court that crucified him. He had a mission that only He could do.

Persecution does not come to those who remain silent. It comes to those who are light and salt. Light and salt means incarnating the life of Christ and speaking the truth in love. I have only one citizenship. I am only an ambassader of Christ, and so are you if you call Christ your Lord.

4 to “The Kingdoms of Satan”

  1. Patrick Junior Tengey says:

    Hello Brother Alex.I love reading your thoughts on issues.Very strong and interesting points made.I believe that God in a way is involved in all earthly government formation. Remember what Jesus said to Pilate when he claimed he had power to free him. Jesus said “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” Jn 19:11. God has an eternal purpose for earth and its people, and God’s purpose will come true no matter what. Sometimes man’s free will and choices determines how we feature in it or not. Just as Saul was chosen as king by God though it was not in God’s perfect will but due to the Israelite’s crying for a king. My point is this, though it is true that some governments and leaders are wicked, but i sincerely believe that God allows them to be chosen because there could have been more wicked people but God permitted them to have it, which will eventually lead to God’s eternal purpose being fulfilled.
    Stay blessed

  2. Alexander says:

    Patrick,
    Thank you for your feedback. I agree with you that God is still involved with life on Earth. In my opinon regarding Pilate, the authority Pilate had was given to Pilate by God only in the sense that God gave all mankind the authority to govern themselves. As for wicked men in government I lean towards Romans 1:24 where Paul says,
    “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts”. That does not mean that God chooses these men to be our leaders, we do. Honestly, though, I am still wrestling with these issues in my own heart. The inspiration for the post was Leo Tolstoy’s “The Kingdom of God is Within You” where he argues that Jesus does not want us involved with governments at all.

  3. John Vian says:

    The best way to get out of paying Federal Income Tax is to write exempt on the 1040 form. Then never, ever file to the IRS. What they don’t know, they will never find out. If you accumulate over $10,000 in your bank account, the banks will report this to the IRS. So, never allow your account to reach ten grand….

  4. Alexander says:

    John,

    Your comment barely relates to my post. I do not mention the IRS and Income Tax in this post, although they are tools of Satan for sure. As Christians we are called to live lawfully in the land even if the laws are unlawful, unless those laws contradict the will of God. Taxes are part of the system. Your advice is akin to grabbing a rabid dog by the tail, and I consider it extremely foolish. I wrestled with this issue for years. I do not believe we are to obey the laws of the land like churchianty claims it to be the will of God. Rather we obey to stay under the radar so we can pursue the work of the kingdom without interference.



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