Moral Complexities

It is a real challenge to stick to a heart-led conviction and wade through the mass of lies. For those of us still learning how to live by divine conviction, seeking to shake off generations of false religious teaching with false moral values, we need a lot of time in prayer and contemplation to catch up. I encourage you to get close to Creation and learn to hear the voice of God in communion with unfallen nature. Learn to pray and worship outdoors in relatively wild settings; get used to just sitting and absorbing that personal moral truth of God’s character. It’s not so much a matter of pristine untouched wilderness — though that is good if you can find it — but a place where the normal noise of human traffic is far enough away that you can hear the sound of nature singing the praises of God.

And then, I encourage you to keep that thrumming song of glory alive when your human responsibilities pull you away from those moments. Stay heart-led; keep an ear on your convictions. This is how we overcome our own sinful tendencies. This is how we restore justice to as much dominion as God grants us individually.

This way, you’ll be in a position to understand when I tell you that a critical element in divine justice is living in that tribal social structure. While it may mean blood kinship, the real point is covenant kinship. That business of shared covenant is the core of divine justice in this fallen world. This is why I characterize shalom as “social stability” — you cannot possibly have genuine social stability any other way than to elevate the covenant to the status of divine law in your thinking.

Of course, we never lose sight of the vast difference between our world of divine justice versus the world around us. Our lives are characterized by the eternal conflict between what is versus what ought to be. We do not control the outcomes; we can just barely control the process within ourselves. Adam — symbolizing our fallen nature — is like a zombie that won’t stay dead, won’t stay nailed to the Cross (Galatians 2:20). We should hardly be surprised that the world around us lives like moral zombies.

I don’t expect the world to understand this kind of talk. It’s not just the way I use language, but the whole thing rests on a moral awareness that only God can give. Instead, I have to speak to the world just a few things that represent their best interests in terms they could understand if they wanted. Instead of talking about the tribal covenant orientation, I refer to nationalism. Whatever bad things might come with that, it’s far better than what comes with other political agendas. If I can persuade men to embrace a nationalist agenda, it’s about as close as they’ll get to social stability and God’s divine blessings.

We are not going to escape death in this world. It’s not what God intended for us, but now it’s the only way out of this mess. But as noted in my previous reference to Galatians 2:20, we can choose death before we actually die. We can sacrifice our sinful nature and God will grant us a trans-dimensional awareness that means we get some kind of taste of the Tree of Life. We face the Flaming Sword at the entrance to Eden and use it on ourselves; it accomplishes the same moral purpose that way. So we become aware of things we can’t really expect to experience in our fallen existence. We see not just the conflict, but the full meaning of the conflict. We can discern the nature of things and characterize for others a vision, a path that leads them somewhat closer to that Flaming Sword. We tell them to embrace nationalism and already know that it means people have to bleed and die. We understand that the Canaanites had to be slaughtered or God could not bless Israel in the Conquest.

A lot of Israeli warriors didn’t quite have that deep moral vision of the Covenant, but they did have a certain useful bloodlust. Humans have a capacity for violence and it’s just plain goofy to suggest that violence is inherently sinful. It has its place in the fallen world. Don’t try to overly analyze this with your reasoning; God commanded His people to destroy and kill because it was part of His inscrutable plans. The problem was that Israel got lazy about it; it’s the sin of Adam in eating the Forbidden Fruit. Fighting moral evil is a dirty job and Adam had competing interests to distract him. He should have attacked the Devil. And Israel failed to bring God’s wrath against the Canaanites in full measure. That violent human tendency does have a godly purpose, but it requires some strong preparation to see what’s the real threat that needs killing instead of seeking fleshly convenience.

Don’t ask me why God would desire whole portions of humanity to die in their sins. This the world in which we live. It’s sad to see so much potential lost that way, but the real problem is our moral blindness. Our intellect is arrogant and imagines it could find a way to redeem those folks and make them more useful. As if we could succeed where God has closed the door…

We aren’t living in a society that embraces the Covenant of Noah, and I’m not appointed by God to take political leadership. I’m not going to tell you whom you should go and kill with any kind of moral authority from God. Rather, I’ll tell you that the question of using violence is valid under Biblical Law; it’s a valid question for those who follow Christ. But you have to get with God and know for yourself what He wants. We don’t listen to the shrill false morality of our society because it stands on a false moral approach to everything. It flies in the face of God and His revelation; it makes the State your god and demands you do violence only at government behest. Some of you reading this will, in the near future, be confronted with moments when violence is God’s will for you, never mind what government says. I’m utterly convinced I will face those moments. God can redeem our bloodlust, too.

For the rest of humanity in our current American political context, I would say that violence against the likes of the Antifas is justified. But I would also say don’t get lost in that. You may need to save some for the real threat: the globalists behind the Antifas. Do you honestly imagine those folks will peacefully surrender their political power? They are the ones funding the Antifas. Sure, wait for them to force your hand — they will. They most certainly would not hesitate to kill you as a simple matter of convenience.

Would you rather we just keep going in the same muddled direction where the plutocrats plunder everyone of everything? How bad does it have to hurt before you act? If you want to stop the oppression, the path is to take down the globalists first, then the imperialists — the former is shielding the latter. As the linked article notes, there will come a time when the imperialists will send out fake Antifas to keep you distracted from attacking the imperialist agenda. So while you have a little fun punching out the Antifas, don’t get confused about the real threat.

In the end, the thing you imagine you are protecting or recovering will lie shattered on the ground. In the back of your minds, realize that the system as come to an end already, and it’s time for you to build something new once you have broken the plutocrat power over you.

Europeans: I can’t help you much. The globalists own you already; God has delivered your countries into their hands. Your lands are already swamped with implacable foes and your future is lost. The Islamic conquest fended off in 732 at the Battle of Tours has now been embraced by your political elite. You folks will have to find your own answers. The tide cannot be turned back now. You’ll need to learn violence merely to survive on a daily level. God help you.

For those of us who walk the heart-led way, don’t get trapped in political concerns. Learn to recognize what’s happening and be ready to exploit the opportunities for Christ’s glory.

04 The Lost Heritage

After completing the full loop around Draper Lake today, I stopped off at Daniel’s Hill. Removing my helmet and facing into the wind, I prayed aloud.

“Lord, I’m grateful for the way You have carried me through all the long journey to discover the vast riches of Your shalom. But it shouldn’t have to be that hard. How did we get like this? How was it that the churches surrendered so quickly and easily after the First Century? Is there some way we can make this thing more painfully obvious and provide a better hedge? And Lord, can we please include more people in this rich heritage of Your blessings in this life?”

Two things stick out in my mind: The Laws of Noah and heart-led living. I was teaching Noah years ago, and before that I was teaching how convictions in your heart are written by God and should reign over your reason. Convictions look just like the Law Covenants (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).

There is nothing legalistic in the Law Covenants. Legalism is something you have to bring to the Law, usually because of the influence of Hellenism. Both Moses and Noah are inherently mystical in tone. Anyone living at the time they were published would have presumed them a parabolic image of something far deeper. Both of them presume you are living from your heart. So if you walk in Christ, it’s going to look like Noah. And Moses is a particular instance of Noah, so the promised blessings are the same for both.

Thus, if you are living in communion with Creation through God’s Spirit, nobody really has to explain why you might, for example refuse to eat meat that hasn’t been properly drained of its blood. It’s a matter of reverence for the life in Creation. Draining the blood before eating meat is a symbol of that communion we all have with Creation. Blood is life and we offer it back to God who gave it as covering for our fallen nature. People in tune with Creation and Christ don’t consume blood as food, not intentionally.

But it’s not a nit-picky rule or law; it’s a symbol, a parable of truth.

If we are to build a genuine parallel society, we have to manifest a common departure from Western moral mythology. For at least the past two years I’ve been steadily trying to contrast Noah from Western assumptions. That most of Western Christianity adheres to the false, heathen moral assumptions of the West only complicates our message. So we have to distinguish ourselves from mainstream Christians, too.

Hellenism is the root of Western intellectual traditions. Aristotle was a key element in Hellenism, and he assumed that humanity has always been like this. Indeed, he figured that gods would be just as morally weak as humans. There is no room in Hellenism for the notion of the Fall, because Scripture posits a world aside from this world. The Bible teaches that it wasn’t like this in Eden, that we weren’t made for this. Jehovah, unlike the pagan deities of Greece and others, is morally perfect, the definition of moral truth. We know that we shall never experience that moral purity directly in this life, but we will become aware of it in rich living detail through our hearts.

But Aristotle’s assumption about human nature rears its head in some smaller Christian denominations (Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Fall, for example). Most Westerners are convinced the only hope is asserting the power of reason over our whole being. Thus, regardless of what they may say, they all act as if the human reason isn’t fallen. Therefore, becoming less worldly to them means becoming merely more cerebral. All you need is a better content in your head and your own power to live by your reason. So legalism is entirely natural for them, because it constitutes a call to better knowledge and better performance. It doesn’t work too well.

Western Christians don’t have a lot of genuine shalom. We need to show them what it is and where it comes from. I’m hoping that we can present a fairly consistent witness that restores the heritage of faith to those Christ calls to spiritual life. We should naturally join with nature in crying out for someone to please ditch the false assumptions about faith and reality and join us in this eternal celebration of God’s glory.

Some Prophetic Insight

See the bigger picture.

Consider Romans 9:14-24 and Jeremiah 18. God is the Potter; His plans and motives are inscrutable to us. But His moral character is fully revealed. If we see that a country is not obeying the Covenant of Noah, then we know it is doomed. We can analyze that country in detail and see why it is doomed, and can usually discern how the doom will come. That is, we know that God typically allows nations enough rope to hang themselves; their doom will be consistent with their sin.

From our perspective, it doesn’t matter much how a particular country came into being. God grants them all a certain space for repentance. At what point has the US ever turned to God? At what point did America repent according to Biblical Law and strive to obey? I’ve seen no evidence of it, either.

So the Lord has called me to prophecy to America of her sins and to warn of the coming doom. I will contend that what I see is not unique to me; whatever wisdom and vision I have is hardly special. All of it could and should be obvious to anyone who seeks a genuine heart of faith and conviction. Granted, an awful lot of believers are blinded by a Western bias about faith and revelation, but the remedy for that is easily found. All that I’ve written against Western intellectual assumptions can be found in other works by better writers who knew more than me. I’m hardly the only Christian scholar who knows this stuff.

On top of that, there are a great many very intelligent minds who can see that doom from an entirely secular approach. All you have to remember is their secular motives that color how they address the topic. Most of them are trying to sell something, so it’s not a matter of prophets but profits.

There is no sin in trying to profit from America’s demise. However, keeping it clean before the Lord means keeping track of how He does things. If you obey Biblical Law, then part of the shalom He has promised includes a measure of prosperity. If you are living according to His calling on your life, then by all means, exploit this situation for His glory, for therein is much profit, both moral and material.

By no means should you resist what God is doing. Try to understand what’s happening and pray accordingly. God’s wrath is upon America and she will not return to her former power and glory. Never mind what Trump says about “make America great again” — it ain’t on God’s agenda. But there are some other things God has in mind for Trump to do as a vessel for wrath. At a minimum, his election has provoked the end game. I can’t suggest to you any kind of time table, but there is no turning back. Something in this conflict between his supporters and his foes will forever destroy the system.

If you understand Noah’s Covenant, then you probably understand that centralizing government control is inherently evil. Biblical Law rests on protocols and layers of dominion. The US as it currently exists even within her own borders qualifies as an empire. In the Bible, emperors are not permitted to make laws that dig too deeply into the daily life of subjects. We see from examples on the Old Testament that a good emperor can demand tribute and some amount of direct service, to include a military draft. If he has any sense, he stops at around ten percent. In return, the emperor must provide protection from both external and internal enemies. But he cannot set detailed policy for daily life. He deals only with the existing leadership of the people — ideally kings and tribal leaders.

Thus, policy is limited to keeping trade peaceful and fair between vassals. Translate that into our context today. There is justification for education policy at all, and no justification for any kind of inheritance tax or physical property tax. There is no justification for corporations as persons to limit individual liability. There can be no impersonal shareholders, no stocks and bonds. There can be no government bureaucracy making rules and regulations, only executing them. Everything must be personal; all property must be owned under the name of an individual. And we haven’t even mentioned the issue of respect for Creation. Those are just a few examples; do you begin to see how it deals with greed and lack of accountability?

So it stands to reason that our screwed up evil system is what will implode. That’s how God’s wrath works: Whatever characterizes an evil empire as peculiar sins is what will eat it alive, and it’s what God’s wrath will correct. Thus, we should expect that there will be a catastrophic decentralization of US political power. And because the US has done so very much evil to other countries, there will be further complications too numerous to mention here.

If you understand what draws God’s ire, you can estimate where His wrath falls. There are people and agendas that will fight tooth and nail to keep the evil centralizing going, trying to make it even worse. Those will suffer. So for example, Trump’s presidency will open the path for the destruction of both the globalists and imperialists. Within your calling and mission from God, if you see a chance to exploit and profit from that situation, jump right in. Otherwise, try not to stand too close to any of it when it implodes.

I reiterate my personal conviction that we need not fear an apocalypse. The national system can break down without destroying everything you know. It will be rough in some ways — it has to be. But there’s no reason to think life support will come to a screeching halt. Your local and state governments will vary widely in their response to the way stuff changes, so you’ll have to stay nimble. Make certain in your own heart that you are already where God wants you, then pray and keep your eyes open for what comes.

On Child Abuse

This is a prophetic message, so it belongs in the pulpit.

God vests men and women with various types of prophetic gifts, callings and offices as part of the redemptive nature of revelation. That purpose includes a call to repentance, to provoke a sense of conviction about our common sinful nature and to offer the assurance of mercy. It points to a path that takes us out of sin.

There is no objective definition of child abuse. It’s the arrogance of human intellect to assert that such a definition could and should be. Nonetheless, we know that there is such a thing as child abuse in God’s eyes on the simple grounds that there is sin and abusive behavior among humans perpetrated against other humans. The whole concept of Law Covenant as revelation speaks of the need to mitigate sinful nature by erecting boundaries and enforcing them. The primary objective of Law is offering some framework for bringing social stability. While we might like to change human sinful nature, Law cannot do that. Such change requires a miracle of God and none of us is Him.

So we must first acknowledge that the question of what constitutes “child abuse” is culturally derived, and highly contextual. The greatest single problem is both the cause of child abuse, and the aggravation of such abuse through the actions of government. While some things people do are abusive to children, everything the secular state does to children is harmful and abusive. The state is inherently evil.

So the real problem here is the secular state. More to the point, the whole problem of child abuse rests on the mere existence of secular state government. The state is the proximate cause, the primary culprit. Whatever solution we might propose cannot involve the presence of the intrusive state, because the state can do nothing right.

What makes the state so wrong? It rests on a mythology that is drawn from the two sources of Germanic tribal culture and Classical epistemology. Western Civilization is an Antichrist; it rejects all of the fundamental requirements of God’s revelation, particularly in terms of Law. To walk with Christ requires you reject Western civilization and everything born from it. (Please don’t get lost here; it’s not the material products of the West, but the social condition itself that is wrong.)

When understood from the proper approach, the requirements of Noah’s Covenant is that man institute what he failed to do in the Garden of Eden: To get off his lazy ass and govern his family. While there is a burden on females according to their own nature, the failure of males takes center stage here because this is a man’s job. Translating the contextual meaning of Genesis 9 and the Rainbow Covenant means prodding men to take up the shepherd’s staff in their households and stay alert against moral threats.

Adam’s sin in the Garden was letting Eve choose something she was not equipped to evaluate. We are led to assume that Adam was aware of the discussion between Eve and Satan, and that Satan was not their friend. He also knew that Eve, by her feminine nature, was not wired to handle temptation of that nature. It was his duty before God to protect her from that, and he failed. The redemptive purpose of the Law is to correct his laziness and hold him responsible for asserting moral boundaries.

He starts building those boundaries in his own household. As that household grows, he maintains those boundaries. That means he must come before God on a regular basis and make sure he rightly understands what constitutes a threat to moral stability and what is the proper mitigation. At the time the New Testament was written, verses like Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 2:14 & 3:16 refer to the existing Old Testament. We are obliged to parse the Law of Moses through our heart-minds and grasp what it says about human nature and how to mitigate the Fall. All of it presumes that mankind is governed by his own kin, whether blood kin or covenant kin, but that no one else has moral standing to govern human daily affairs.

The family-clan-tribal elder has a vested interest in the moral outcomes. He can have shalom in proportion to the wisdom of his boundaries and enforcement. But his whole life on this earth rests on keeping things stable on moral terms, not mere material terms. He has to recognize what constitutes a threat to that stability as a personal threat, too, and his actions have to match the threat. So in Noah’s Covenant we have mention of executing murderers, not because life is so precious, but shalom is precious and murder threatens the shepherd’s treasure in the people. Their shalom was his. The provisions of Moses’ Law calling for execution reflect a very wise evaluation on those moral terms in the context of that people, that time, that land.

Aside from Rome, that beastly predecessor of the modern secular state, no one in that part of the world would dream of interfering in family government. Even Rome recognized tribal national identity and some limited peculiarities from one to the next. A Judean was a Judean all over the Roman Empire, and fell under Judean law for some purposes. Rome authorized armed enforcement of Judean law on Judeans in all parts of the empire. That’s because most of the rest of the world outside of Rome viewed the moral obligations within and between tribes/nations as preeminent in all human relations. There were ancient protocols for all this. The New Testament fusses at Rome for seizing control of things that rightly belong to the tribe, something no previous conquering empire dared to do. (You should study ancient sovereign-vassal treaties for more details.)

The modern secular state lumps disparate nations together based on mere geographical boundaries, a mistake that arises from heathen German thinking. Western feudalism is turf-oriented. Thus, everyone inside the geographical boundary is governed wholly by the whims of the vested authorities, and cultural/tribal differences are ignored where inconvenient to the state’s interests. And we surely grasp that the state’s interests are materialistic in nature; that’s fundamental to Western identity in the first place. All subjects under the state are regarded individually as assets of the state — quite literally, property of the state. And the state’s “ownership” is irredeemably materialistic and immoral in nature. Everything is an economic asset, and that goes a long way to explaining law and the courts in a Western democracy.

The ancient man who was born after Noah understood instinctively that his greatest treasure was his family. It was written into the assumptions of his world view. It was presumed inherently immoral to regard family members as mere conveniences and assets. They were his, but he was nothing without them. So long as a man proceeds on that assumption, his actions would be hard to classify as “abusive” as he sought to establish moral boundaries for them. The rest of that clan could fuss about his choices, but in the final analysis, Noah demands that the man make a choice and enforce it.

In a secular and cosmopolitan society, the ultimate abuse comes from the arrogance of folks assuming that their personal cultural values are proper and fit for all those they encounter. We see today secular states using the excuse of “community values” to oppress folks who behave differently based on a different cultural orientation. The result is an unforgivable tyranny and oppression, because it always includes a host of demands that intrude on God’s mandate. Secular civil law is inherently blasphemous; where it seems some legal measure overlaps Noah’s Law, it’s entirely random.

So whatever the secular state decides to do in terms of law enforcement will tend to fail most miserably when it comes to domestic matters. It might seem to work in practical terms, but it remains a moral failure. Those who wield political dominance in the local community will spitefully slap down any alternative viewpoint without bothering to first gain a covenant compliance. There is zero moral authority behind their decisions. But they blithely seize control of civil enforcement power, cowardly hiding behind hired thugs instead of executing enforcement by their own hands of moral authority, and they destroy the moral social stability that God commanded.

Thus, the major logical flaw here is that the state claims to be a victim of certain “criminal” acts when it has absolutely not moral standing at all. With things like child abuse, the state has no standing because it is not a victim. Ideally the folks in the community would have some standing, but they forfeit that standing by refusing to establish a proper covenant. So when it comes to the question of whether a child has been abused, only the family household in which that child lives has any standing as victims. In particular, the presumed shepherd of the family has suffered a loss by the abuse, since it is his treasure we are talking about here.

The same goes for abortion, and marriage disputes, etc. The whole range of family law in Western Civilization as a whole is blasphemous. May God have mercy on those few of us who see that, because His wrath rests on the West.

The Nuclear Option of Faith

When your heart belongs wholly to Christ, and you strive to walk by that heart of faith, you will inevitably encounter resistance from a sinful world. We must always keep before us that our real enemy is Satan and his demons. It is grammatically appropriate in English to capitalize that as a title: our Enemy. He’s the only enemy that really matters. Our difficulty in this life is chiefly humans who serve his purposes, knowingly or not (Ephesians 6:10-20).

We would prefer people to repent from serving our Enemy’s purposes, and to escape his dominance in their lives. That’s our hope, even as we keep in the mind the warning of our Lord that most people will not repent. Indeed, we should be quite happy just to get them off our backs, most of the time. There is that sense of dominion from God that says: As long as they aren’t hindering my mission, they aren’t my problem. The majority of those we encounter in this life will remain a part of the broader background of fallen humanity. Significant they are while we share space with them, and worthy of tearful prayers for redemption, but we know to let God decide something He didn’t put into our hands.

Repentance is required for redemption, and repentance itself is a divine miracle. We have to prepare our minds to understand that most will pass in and out of our lives with neither repentance nor redemption. Further, we know that a great many folks we encounter are somewhere between initial repentance and a deeper understanding of heart-led submission to the Spirit, such that they may need repentance from of lot of things still keeping them tied to Satan’s schemes. These people merit a special effort, because we are obliged to presume they are family already, but still struggling to find their place and not at peace. Such are we all in one way or another.

We humbly ask others to pray for us as we confront the demons in our own lives. Those demons have found a bit of home ground in us on issues that we haven’t conquered. This is where we get the higher meaning behind Deuteronomy 7:22-23, as Paul noted 1 Corinthians 10, particularly verse 11. The Conquest stands as a parable of how God works in our lives to drive out demonic forces. We don’t conquer the external world, but conquer our own human existence and occupy it for God’s glory.

But there is another tactic in this war against sin.

First we need to refresh in our minds that this is a time of tribulation, a time of God’s wrath falling heavily upon this world. In such times as these, we are intensely aware of what biblical curses mean. The sword of God’s power on this earth is revealed in His Law Covenants as blessings and curses, two edges of that same sword (Hebrews 4:12; Genesis 3:24). We emphasize blessings a lot, but the same event that blesses His children can be a curse on those who reject His revelation. We can talk about the difference between curses and blessings, but in many ways, it’s all one thing.

Indeed, there is a sense in which pronouncing a curse can result in a blessing, particularly if the sorrow from the curse brings repentance. We must never fail to understand that the ultimate goal of the Law of God is repentance, leading to redemption. This means that the curses and blessings attached to biblical law all have the same redemptive end.

This is where I insert the comment about how there are several Hebrew words translated as “curse” in the Bible. We aren’t talking here about the spiteful condemnation that belittles someone. That kind of curse is what we see in Exodus 22:28, a command that you not “curse” a ruling official or king over you. It’s paralleled with the command that you not “revile” God, because it’s all the same kind of mistake. The point is that you render due respect to roles of authority, even if you find the person in that role despicable as an individual. This is not the kind of curse we are referring to here.

When we talk about a lawful curse, we mean calling someone’s attention to their evil. There is a critical element here in testifying to God’s Word. How can they repent if they have not heard? You have been sent to make them hear, so testify faithfully of God’s revelation. At some point in your dealings with your fellow humans, they will give evidence your heart can discern that they are hardened in some particular grievous moral error. They need to know about it. There might be any number of ways you can tell them, but uttering a curse is one of those ways.

You’ll have to let your heart tell you when you are up against the wall of someone’s hardened sin. I can’t offer you a memorized formula for this; we each have to come up with our own rituals for expressing divine truth. However, I can tell you that I would try to find a way to say something along these lines:

May God curse everything you do, may demons infest every corner of your existence, until you repent or die.

And then you pray that what you said comes true, because you would have been praying about this kind of thing, if not this specific confrontation, for a long time already. You would be standing on firm moral ground and genuinely expect that troubles and sorrows would sprout and bear fruit aplenty in their personal existence. That’s the kind of thing we saw in the Ten Plagues on Egypt, where God shattered Pharaoh’s confidence in everything he thought he knew. In many cases, you will be dealing with someone who has a human legal authority to afflict you, trying to compel you to conform to something you know is sin, so you are looking for God to let that fool know who is God.

And it ain’t you. It has to be done with confidence and humility. You have to make sure the ground is plowed and watered with your carefully considered, heart-led response to everything involved before you come to that point. The same seed of obedience will bring forth a harvest of blessing and curse, and the difference is in the soul of the person who walks into that field.

By the way: It’s protocol to keep your distance from someone you’ve cursed on the grounds that you have full faith it’s going to happen and you don’t want to be close enough for the destruction to fall on you, too.

Why Noah’s Law?

It’s a matter of faith: We stand ready to die for the name of Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer just me living in this fleshly body, but Christ lives in me, too. Now the life I live in this fleshly body is a life of faithful service to the Son of God, who willingly sacrificed His life for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Does that mean anything to you? We were told to take up our own crosses (Matthew 16:24-26). While it has turned out to be literal at times for some, it is symbolic of a life purchased at great cost, wholly owed to the Son of God.

Many Americans, Christians in particular, struggle with the where to draw the line between parable and literal meaning. I use the term “Two Realms” to point out a teaching that is greatly needed in postmodern Western Christian thinking, because mainstream Christian religion confuses parable and literal teaching. Thus, most mainstream Christians tend to take parables literally, and dismiss as parable what Scripture meant literally. They pull Christ down to an earthly regime, and push biblical law off into “a spiritual thing.”

This is a major struggle for people trying to recover a genuine biblical view of this world. If you show up at our parish, you may stumble over that issue. You may find yourself frequently missing the point on things because of that long history of improperly mixing the Two Realms. We owe that to the Judaizers. They succeeded in subverting the mystical approach in the organized church hierarchy by the end of the First Century.

Jesus spoke of mystical truths, but then taught people how to use that mystical approach to understand the Law of Moses. The Torah is a mystical document; all the specific concrete requirements represent a much higher mystical truth. The Jews had forgotten that. By mixing Hellenized logic into their ancient Hebrew Law, they became legalistic and pushed mysticism off to the side. Mysticism was there, but not taken seriously as the primary proper approach to understanding the Scripture. So Jesus had a running battle with Jewish leadership about how to read Moses. He taught Moses, as Moses was intended, against their “traditions of the elders” (eventually formalized in the Talmud). Jesus was restoring the ancient Hebrew faith.

As the gospel spread across the Mediterranean Basin, it first went among Jewish communities planted all over the place. We call that “the Diaspora” — Jews living in a Gentile world outside their own kingdom. There were plenty of Gentiles attracted to the Jewish religion, but when they heard the gospel correcting it, they embraced it quickly. And while plenty of Jews also embraced the gospel, there was a natural tension in the whole process. Jews still suffered from that legalistic instinct, so the Apostles had to find a way to put out the fires of conflict.

In Acts 15 they made it clear that one did not have to become a Jew first to become a Christian. On the one hand, if Jews wanted to follow Christ, they could drop the Talmudic stuff and stick with the mystical truth. If they embraced Moses as Jesus taught him, then it meant no legalism and life was much simpler. Jesus pointed out how certain provisions of Mosaic Law weren’t even applicable outside of the more ancient historical context. With the sacrifice on the Cross, whole swathes of ritual were gone. What remained was the core of ancient Hebrew moral values.

Gentiles had their own brand of mystical law covenant: Noah. The list of prescriptions in Acts 15 was an echo of that more ancient law. The Apostles left out those parts of Noah that were covered under Roman Law and focused on what was left, the parts that were demanding enough on Gentiles from a broad range of pagan backgrounds. And for a deeper understanding, there was an expectation that churches would generally study the Old Testament Scripture to provide an expansive explanation of what Noah meant. Moses was a more explicit and particular application of Noah. The promised blessings and warned curses of Moses were inherent in Noah.

For Jewish Christians it was, “Christ in your hearts, Moses in your hands.” For Gentile Christians it was, “Christ in your hearts, Noah in your hands.” You could lie about having Christ in your heart, but you couldn’t easily lie about what you did with your conduct and your habits of life before the church. Your fellow church members knew to treat you as a fellow Christian because you had the good sense to walk and talk according to a mystical law covenant as applicable.

You have to understand that mysticism from those ancient times was not “mysticism” as commonly understood today, particularly in the West. That business of heart-led wisdom was well understood and widely discussed in literature going back into pre-history. It was their normal intellectual climate, an assumption taken for granted. It’s utterly foreign to us; we have to learn it from them. We have to learn how normative the heart-led mode of life is, and how it works when examining our own conduct, as well as that of the folks who share our household of faith. Thus, we are not legalistic, but strive to discern the heart of the matter — by taking that “heart” business rather literally.

For us, that call to crucify the flesh is a matter of keeping the intellect subjected to the heart-mind. Not just in those “spiritual” moments, but all day long. That way those spiritual moments aren’t just a matter of ritual, but they strike us with the power of God whatever it is we do. We place the initiative to act and respond to all external events within the heart. We test each moment by our convictions.

Because we need some kind of structure for the mind to obey the heart, we refer to the Law of Noah. If you prefer a Jewish approach, then it’s Moses — but it’s Moses as taught by Jesus, not by the Talmud. That phrase, “under grace, not under the law” refers to the Talmud as “the law,” a burdensome legalistic pile of nonsense. Jesus cut through all of that (Matthew 22:34-40). The difference between Noah and Moses turns out to be no more than a matter of ritual behavior.

Kosher was no longer law but a matter of personal preference, as Peter learned in his vision of the sheet (Acts 10). Ritual separation from Gentiles was never meant to be an excuse for racist hatred, but a way to call the Gentiles to a higher moral standard. The business of eating with someone had long been a matter of declaring peace, so eating with believing Gentiles was never a sin. Gentiles could not be held to the Law of Moses unless they wanted to become a citizen of Israel. They were held by Noah, instead. While Jews didn’t share in Gentile food (“sharing a table”), they could share their food with Gentiles. They also could associate with Gentiles socially long before the rise of the legalistic perversions of the Law. So Jews in the churches could continue being fussy about food, and even Gentiles should avoid pagan ritual meals, but that arrogant spite about “unclean people” was just plain wrong. What mattered was a circumcised heart.

In our parish today we refer to the Law of Noah, understood in light of the Law of Moses, which in turn is understood through Christ’s teaching, as the visible manifestation of an obedient heart.

An Epistle for Our Times

In terms of missions — addressing the world around us — we stand in the gateway of Noah. That is, we use the framework of Noah’s Covenant to address the broader needs of humanity. Sure, it complicates things when we are talking to Christian believers, but our general approach remains the same. To the world at large, our religion is more or less the Law of Noah.

On the one hand, the Law of Noah lays out all the basic provisions for living in our world. We’ve discussed the discrete provisions plenty of times under the heading of a call to repent. It includes the traditional Seven Noachide Laws as found in the Talmud. We take that listing with a grain of salt simply because the Talmud is a mixture of corrupt Jewish traditions and just a little bit of ancient lore that didn’t make it into Scripture. However, the more important elements of this does show up in Acts 15. In my study of Acts I describe how some of the seven laws aren’t mentioned specifically because they were already covered under what was then the current legal framework of Roman Law. What’s left is this word from James:

“Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.” (Acts 15:19-20 NKJV)

This leaves us explaining just what it means for something to be polluted with idols, or what constitutes sexual immorality, but we probably won’t have much trouble with folks wanting to eat meat that was strangled or hasn’t been properly bled. Instead, we have a substantial job explaining why these things matter.

Thus, we come to the monumental prerequisites for actually observing the Law of Noah. This is where we mention the Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) feudal government, for that is precisely what was required in Genesis 9 where the Covenant is announced. Further, the context of that covenant assumes a heart-led culture and way of life (AKA, ANE Mysticism). This is where we spend so very much time explaining what that business in Acts 15 summarizes, because Gentiles in that time and place were usually familiar with all of the ANE heritage as a part of their cultural background. Quite significant was that those Gentiles had already sampled a wide array of varying civilizations and had an instinctive awareness that their own culture was not the default way of looking at things.

The Western lack of such awareness is our primary burden. This peculiar blindness is the mountain we must move by faith. It’s not as if we can’t package the external requirements for ready consumption, but the last thing we need is a bunch of folks hardened in their misunderstanding of everything behind those requirements. The Apostles didn’t have to wade through that, so going out and preaching in the town square was the simplest way to get the message out. For us, it’s more like shouting across a thousand miles of distance, even as we stand among the people who need to hear. We have to invest the effort to establish our weirdness visually and with power before speaking does much good.

All the more so is the burden upon us as we have already crossed the threshold into a new world, a changed reality. This is the time to invest the effort to see what our faith demands of us simply living a heart-led existence. I have this burning zeal to help you discover the fullness of shalom, the calm assurance that things will work out if we simply seize upon the heart-led necessities. When your convictions speak, that is your Voice of God for the current context, so learn to listen. And then learn to see with moral eyes what may never be apparent to mere mechanical vision. Learn to hear the song of Creation praising the Lord, the bubbly celebration of Life in the natural world around you. Let it feed your soul and keep that vivid existence burning brightly in the world around you.

This is not a time to affix labels in the way Western minds do, where the label is the identity of a thing. If it seems our function is apostolic, it would still be misleading to label ourselves “Apostle So-n-so.” Let’s be happy with Brother and Sister, and then later we can talk about vested roles. I’m on the verge of introducing a new and younger male elder to the virtual staff here in our online parish. All it means is that I trust his ability to lead the way we lead, which is rather like a shepherd calling out to the sheep who might hear, but otherwise letting them follow as they will. If the sheep are not bound by trust, there is no leadership.

So we progress as a virtual parish. We are building a network of voices who share a common vision for how to handle a world about to be shaken to the very foundations. Tribulation has come; we are a tribulation church. God has come on an inspection tour, and He is worthy of our best. We are His living epistles.

Anti-Activism

It’s a question of dominion. You and I are permitted to take assertive action only within the boundaries of covenant. When it comes to social and political issues, the prevailing applicable covenant is Noah’s. We could easily get lost hashing out the details of the Seven Noahic Laws, but those will not help us because there are prerequisites not stated. The primary issue is that God has wired us to live under Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) feudalism. Without that, you simply cannot have a valid covenant for human organization. Oh, and it requires you reject Western intellectual assumptions.

Inside a covenant community of faith, these changes are pretty easy. Noah’s Covenant isn’t that hard under a presumption of genuine faith. Granted, you could choose a simulacrum of Moses’ Law, so long as you realize that the ritual offerings are swept away by the Cross, aside from offerings given to support worship and leaders. However, it’s largely unnecessary to go that way and Noah is good enough. Instead, we use Moses to inform our understanding of Noah, as Moses has effectively ended, but Noah remains in force so long as there are rainbows. Still, God requires your church be organized like an ANE feudal household. Otherwise, it’s not really a covenant community. Mainstream Western churches are essentially corporations, not spiritual families. It can’t be both. You may well have the latter inside the former, but they aren’t the same body in moral terms because each stands in a different sphere, so you’ll satisfy the requirements for one or the other, but not both.

A covenant presumes voluntary submission. In the Old Testament, children were presumed under parental authority and not free to choose until passing through a collection of moral portals along the way. Parents held total life-n-death prerogatives over their own children. Sometime around age 9 began the transition to social engagement with adult life, culminating in the bar Mitzvah (“son of the Law”) which made them a citizen. (That business of thirty years old had to do with eligibility for community leadership.) At any point after bar-Mitzvah, they could opt out, but only at the price of being regarded socially “dead.” They left the covenant and became aliens, alienated from everyone inside the covenant. Their parents no longer treated them as family, no longer under the protective moral dominion.

In other words, humans must elect to join and actively keep the attachment, or they become nothing more than resident aliens. They still have to meet minimum standards to remain in the physical space of the community, but they don’t actually belong. They still have to recognize they are outsiders with no inherent rights, only a grant of privilege.

A critical element in Old Testament covenant dominion was the actual faith to assert Covenant Law effectively. That is, all covenants depend on the faithfulness of the members. If you don’t have effective control, something is missing inside the covenant community. Effective control presumes you use it in preserving divine justice, AKA shalom AKA social stability under covenant provisions.

So it should be obvious that America, for example, is not a covenant nation. Christians cannot simply assert that it is, or ought to be, or demand that it become so. American Christians generally have no clue what’s required and you can be sure they would reject ANE feudal organization. Even under the most superficial terms, they refuse to obey Noah’s Law. At a minimum, it requires a radical and painful shift from Western thinking to something closer to ANE thinking, and most of them would flatly refuse. They insist on enforcing something closer to the Talmud, with all the goofy legalistic assumptions about reality. Western Christianity is inherently Pharisaical.

Inside the covenant community of faith, we rightly make certain moral demands. Projecting those demands outward onto the secular society is sinful. It’s rather like trying to demand that God offer them His covenant protections without His moral dominion. And in case you missed that, our primary warning to sinners is that their choices are not in their own best interest. They are hurting themselves; it’s the wrong approach to think in terms of how we find things morally offensive. But any change in their choices must come from within. If they don’t accept the whole covenant, they can’t have any part of it. It has nothing to do with their strength to walk away from temptation, but we need to see a genuine desire to walk in divine justice. We all have our moral weaknesses, so humility remains our first impulse. Thus, agitating for piecemeal changes in secular law to more closely match Noah’s Law is evil. While there may be any number of posers pretending to stand for Christian moral values, it’s all or nothing in terms of validity. You can promote the whole package, or you can stop pretending.

And are you willing to make this look like the kind of thing ISIS does by imposing a strict regime by force?

The only valid approach is that a body of people come under conviction and appeal to God for a valid covenant of law. It has to be granted by God as the divine sovereign Lord, a sort of suzerain-vassal treaty. That’s the nature of Law Covenants. His offer stands, but if He has to take us by force, it’s too late. We are obliged to sue for peace before He comes in force. You can choose to enter into covenant individually, but a part of that is recognizing the limits of dominion. Your personal covenant with God is not binding on any other human.

You can be an activist in terms of gentle persuasion; the proper “sell” is telling folks Noah is in their best interest. It’s a loving call to repentance — stop the self-destruction. However, it doesn’t take much to turn that into political agitation and the wrong kind of activism. When we attempt to use any kind of human leverage to drive people into a non-faith decision about morals, they either have to be children under our personal dominion, or it’s the work of Satan. Human politics outside the covenant remain under Satan’s dominion.