“Jesus seems like a pretty good guy. I like him because he was an anarchist.” – Jeff Berwick at his wedding ceremony.
Truer words were never spoken. This week the Christian world again celebrates the birth of Jesus, the world’s most famous anarchist. Yet, saying Jesus was an anarchist is enough to cause many a church lady to leap from the altar. Could it be so?
When Jesus was born, the world was not so different than the western world today. Rome was the New World Order of that era. Julius Caesar had crossed the Rubicon decades earlier, and Augustus Caesar had been emperor/dictator for almost 25 years. Rome had become a failing welfare state whose legions relied on exacting tribute from citizens in exchange for benefits in the form of social services. Rome had gone from a free republic to an empire, while starting down a long path of debasing its currency, the known world’s reserve currency. A once independent and self-reliant society had become self-indulgent, apathetic and subject to the will of the dictators, who called themselves “Fathers” and the benefactors of the people.
Rome did not conquer Israel, but was invited in to administer a dispute between two brothers over who should be king. Rome was the world police force of the day, and by appealing to Rome, Israel fell under the tribute of the Pax Romana excise tax and mutual obligations in exchange for Rome keeping the peace of a pending civil war.
“The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful shall be under tribute.”Proverbs 12:24
Under Pharisee and Roman influence, Israel had become a vast welfare state with people looking to the government to take care of them, as in the days under Egyptian and Babylonian captivity. People were committing the sin of coveting thy neighbor’s goods, while electing benefactors to provide for their needs under the Roman system of Corban. Long gone was the system of government set up under Moses that depended entirely of free will offerings to support the needy, distributed by a system of charitable ministers that served the welfare needs of the society.
Jesus came along to lead his followers out of this ungodly Roman system, preaching an alternative form of government. He spoke of a jurisdiction outside of the Roman state, based on the perfect law of freedom, outside the tyranny of men who would rule over their brothers and neighbors. He unified the early Christian church in a system of charity, hope and respect for the rights of each other, requiring that each person love thy neighbor as thy self in a system of mutual, not governmental support.
Jesus baptized people out of the welfare system established by the Romans and Pharisees and into the charitable system administered by the apostles. The Roman citizen ID stone that was part of their Corban was replaced with a white stone from the Jordan River laid upon the altar signifying the person’s baptism into the free Church society.
The ministers of the early church were to be servants of the people and administer the free will offerings of the community. They were required to take a vow of poverty to ensure they did not abuse their administrative privileges or siphon off the collective treasury. They took vows of celibacy to ensure they did not create heirs that could be entitled to the charitable contributions they ministered over.
Jesus was showing a way to unentangle people from the captivity of the social contracts they had made with the state of Rome and Judea, and the tribute and obligations they had become snared by. He proclaimed to call no man “Father”, as they called their Roman benefactors, but stated that “thou Father art in heaven”. The perfect law of freedom indicated that man’s unalienable rights stemmed from God and nature, and not governments of men. This was a system of anarchy, by strict definition, without the complex system of tribute that led to the decadence and decline of society, and the corruptible force of the state to back it up.
The early Christian church was not persecuted for their belief in a different God or a Kingdom in Heaven, but for their opting out of the mutual taxation system and seeking to live apart from the kings and overlords, the gods many, who demanded their tribute. Governments have no inalienable rights to rule over men. They obtain lawful authority through the consent of the governed. Understanding how that consent is obtained and granted is the key to understanding liberty and your own political status. Anarchy is merely that lack of imposed government, and the seeking of your own independent jurisdiction. According to Brother Gregory Williams, the term “Republic” actually stems from the pre-Caesar words “Libera Res Publica” (Free from things Public, i.e. heavy government). Starting with Augustus, they dropped the “Free” part. (http://www.newswithviews.com/Gregory/williams117.htm)
Having created his government-less society, Jesus took on the Pharisees, essentially a political party at the time, who had passed an ordinance requiring the temple tax be paid or face the judgment of a civil magistrate of the Judean government. These taxes flowed into the government’s treasury within the temple whether it served the people or not. The central treasury that held the government funds could be abused by a greedy population or a corrupt bureaucracy.
The moneychangers required the temple tax to be paid in the denarii, and took their commissioned cut of the currency conversion for the people to worship. When Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers, he was really threatening the powerful elite’s ungodly way of life. This final insult could no longer be tolerated.
When brought before Pilate, Jesus declared, “My Kingdom is not of this world”. The word “world” was written kosmos in the original Greek, which is defined as “orderly arrangement”, “order” or “government”. What Jesus was really saying was that his Kingdom on this earth was not a part of the government of Rome, and explicitly not within their jurisdiction to rule over him. And Pilate generally agreed that he had no jurisdiction over Jesus’ Kingdom of non-government. Jesus had taken the Kingdom from those who would suppress and subject the people in sloth and servitude, and entrusted it to His loyal followers who were leaders in a Kingdom that set men free in spirit and in truth. Anarchy indeed.
The Pharisees appealed to Rome to get rid of Jesus, but Jesus would not appeal to Rome for protection. Had He appealed to Rome, he would have compromised the sovereignty of His Kingdom on earth.
Today, most of us find ourselves under slothful tribute to an emperor and a system that is not for our benefit. We have coveted our neighbor’s goods in a vain pursuit of “free” health care, education, welfare, unemployment benefits, social security and government protection. We have traded our inalienable God-given rights through social contracts both implied and explicit. Our churches are not ordained by God, but are 501(c)(3) corporations granted status by the state. As we head into this Christmas week, and into what is certainly going to be a volatile 2012, we are going to need to dig down deep and find that anarchist in all of us, with a little more loving thy neighbor as thy self to boot.