The 12 Days of Christmas


The Biblical Concept of Holistic "Salvation"


In the Bible, "salvation" has two aspects: individual and social.

The vast majority of verses in the Bible which talk about "salvation" are talking about a “Vine & Fig Tree” society, in which people are free from their addictions to sin, and as a result, free from the initiation of force by others -- especially "the government."

Christ's reign thus far has given humanity the blessings of the Kingdom, by transforming barbaric empires into Christian Civilization. A world of peace, civil liberties, wholeness, welfare, security, and order: these are part of the Hebrew word for "salvation."

Let's talk first about "social" salvation.

The Hebrew word most frequently translated "salvation" or "save" is yasha'. In various derivatives it can be translated "deliverance," "victory," "safety," "security," and "welfare." (The Greek equivalent also carries the idea of "health.")

What does the government promise? We have a Department of Health, a Welfare Department, a Department of Homeland Security -- all components of the Biblical concept of "salvation." "The Government" (a.k.a. "civil government") is always a substitute for God. God is our Governor (Isaiah 33:22), and He brings salvation.

The Hebrew word for "save" or "bring salvation" is "yasha." Here is how a very mainstream, non-anarcho-preterist scholar defines that Hebrew word:

Yasha and its derivatives are used 353 times. The root meaning . . . is “make wide” or make sufficient: this root is in contrast to sarar, “narrow,” which means “be restricted” or “cause distress.” To move from distress to safety requires deliverance. [T]he majority of references to salvation speak of Yahweh granting deliverance from real enemies and out of real catastrophes. That which is wide connotes freedom from distress and the ability to pursue one’s own objectives. Thus salvation is not merely a momentary victory on the battlefield; it is also the safety and security necessary to maintain life unafraid of numerous dangers.
Hartley, John E. (1999). 929 יָשַׁע ["yasha"], in R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 1, pp. 414-15.

I admit that I say many controversial things. That definition is not one of them. It is thoroughly Biblical. That's a very conservative, mainstream reference work. Let's look at it in more detail.

An "agrarian" might well argue that this level of consumerism inevitably destroys marriages, fractures families, increases the power of "the State," and makes us all automatons. We'll have to postpone a discussion of this question for another day. Certainly we should not be intimidated by the "mainstream" (government, academia, media, corporations) into pursuing violent, centralized "technocratic" means to an end, rather than peaceful, decentralized "agrarian" means.

Consider first the phrase "safety and security necessary to maintain life." This is also the "safety and security necessary to maintain a prosperous and humane society." In order to go to WalMart and buy a shopping cart full of food and household accessories, there has to be a global network of businesses who create and transport millions of products by making billions of economic calculations and transactions. Millions of human beings have to get to work on time, run the trucks on schedule, choose to work instead of stealing and robbing, and work the graveyard shift so that when you get to the store, all the items you want are neatly arranged on the shelf in an order which makes it possible for you to quickly find what you need and get on with life.

Who should we trust for "safety" and "security?" What does the Bible say?

The Bible repeatedly says that if we obey God the Lawgiver by loving our neighbor through productive service, God our Judge and King will "bless" us with peace and prosperity. "Peace" means "safety" and "security." These are all components of the Biblical picture of holistic "salvation."

But there are those who want to supplant God the King by promising to give us salvation if we will vote for them.

As faith in God declines, votes for archists grow. As archists grow, true salvation declines. Government is bigger today than it was 50 years ago, and we are less secure and more in debt -- precisely what God promised in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 would happen to a nation that apostatizes (forgets God and becomes "secular" [The Paradox of Deuteronomy 8).

"Safety" and "security" are blessings from God, not government. We enjoy "safety" and "security" when our nation is Christian and observes "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," that is, the Bible. Nobody enjoys "safety" and "security" when the government becomes a tyranny which bans the Bible and people behave like pagans.

  • The Bible promises that as Christianity pervades a society, even pagans will start acting like Christians.
  • Then we will all enjoy "salvation."
  •  Jesus is "the savior of all men, especially those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:10

Here are other key descriptions of Biblical "salvation," according to our mainstream source above:

  • being placed in a "wide" space
  • having "sufficient" quantities of things needed (God's Covenant promises more than you "need")
  • opposite: having your options "narrowed"     \   Q.: Who does these things?
  • opposite: being "restricted"                             | A.: Archists
  • opposite: experiencing "distress"                   /   "Blessing" = "salvation" = freedom from archists
  • "the ability to pursue one’s own objectives" without someone else telling you what to do and imposing their will on you by force
  • living life unafraid of "dangers" [dangerous people, i.e., archists who threaten your liberty and prosperity]

Wide Open Spaces

It is most important to get a truly Biblical definition of “salvation” -- and its connection with Liberty -- freedom from "archists" -- into our heads.

Let’s begin with the idea that the Hebrew word for “salvation” means “make wide” or “large.” The Bible describes "salvation" as being placed onto a large piece of property that supplies everything you need. There are many verses that say this, and yet most Christians are completely unaware of the idea that a fundamental meaning of “salvation” means “being put into a wide open space.”

But let’s not take Prof. Hartley’s word for it. Let’s be like the Bereans, who studied the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11). You may want to look at some of these passages in their context in your own Bible.

(Psalm 118:5) I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.

(2 Samuel 22:20) He brought me forth also into a large place: He delivered me, because He delighted in me.

(Genesis 26:22) He moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

(Hosea 4:16) For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: can now the Lord feed them as a lamb in a large place?

(Psalm 31:8) and hast not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; Thou hast set my feet in a broad place.

(Psalm 18:19) He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

(Psalm 66:12) Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

(Psalm 69:35) For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.

In the Bible, people who truly understand the meaning of Christmas are shown to be concerned about living in a “large” land. Of course, in a more agrarian society, “large” is better, as far as land goes. But when God promises to save us by putting us into a “large land,” it’s clear that more is included than going to heaven after living for decades in a narrow land before we up and die. What is the modern equivalent of a “large land?” It varies from person to person, but it includes some form of economic and political prosperity. “Liberty” and “large” are Biblical concepts we are not familiar enough with. Let’s review them and put them in our brains, so that as we read the Bible we will be more aware of them.

Exodus 3:8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.

Leviticus 25:10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.

Judges 18:10 When you go, you will come to a secure people and a large land. For God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”

1 Chronicles 4:40 And they found rich, good pasture, and the land was broad, quiet, and peaceful; for some Hamites formerly lived there.

Nehemiah 7:4 Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt.

Nehemiah 9:35 For they have not served You in their kingdom, Or in the many good things that You gave them, Or in the large and rich land which You set before them; Nor did they turn from their wicked works.

Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.

Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Jeremiah 34:8 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them:

Jeremiah 34:15-17 Then you recently turned and did what was right in My sight—every man proclaiming liberty to his neighbor; and you made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My name. 16 Then you turned around and profaned My name, and every one of you brought back his male and female slaves, whom you had set at liberty, at their pleasure, and brought them back into subjection, to be your male and female slaves.’
17 “Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and every one to his neighbor. Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,’ says the LORD—’to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine! And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

James 2:12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.

For a people to enjoy liberty in a "large place," they must have been "saved from their sins." America's Founding Fathers understood this. In one of the most important addresses in the history of America, George Washington reminded the nation:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of man and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity.

It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government.

In a very important sense, we no longer have to dream of a "large Christmas," a Christmas of liberty. Throughout the Christmas story, a decidedly un-libertarian government looms large, crushing the weak with an iron hand, compelling Joseph and the pregnant Mary to hike to Bethlehem from their home town for the imperial census (Luke 2:1-7;), and killing all the babies (Matthew 2:16-18) in an attempt to kill a rival king (Matthew 2:3). The corruption and violence of a government that claimed to be divine would shock us if we could visit that age. We have become accustomed to living under a government that at least professes the ideal of "Liberty Under God."

One of the blessings promised to the obedient in the Bible is "liberty."

  • LEVITICUS XXV.X (25:10)
    proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants.
  • Psalm 119:45
    And I will walk at liberty,
             For I seek Your precepts.
  • Isaiah 61:1
          “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
          Because the LORD has anointed Me
          To preach good tidings to the poor;
          He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
          To proclaim liberty to the captives,
          And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 
  • Jeremiah 34:8
    This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them:
    Jeremiah 34:15-17
    15 Then you recently turned and did what was right in My sight—every man proclaiming liberty to his neighbor; and you made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My name. 16 Then you turned around and profaned My name, and every one of you brought back his male and female slaves, whom you had set at liberty, at their pleasure, and brought them back into subjection, to be your male and female slaves.’
    17 “Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and every one to his neighbor. Behold, I proclaim liberty to you,’ says the LORD—’to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine! And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:17
    Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
  • James 1:25
    But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
  • James 2:12
    So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.

"Liberty" means "freedom." But "freedom from what?" In the pages of the Bible, the answer is almost always: "freedom from archists."

One of the blessings promised in Leviticus 26 is "peace," or freedom from those who bear the sword. Those who bear the sword are archists. They are also called in the Bible "enemies."

Of course, "freedom from" is always for the purpose of "freedom to" -- freedom to serve and obey the Lord.

The name "Jesus" comes from the Hebrew word Yhowshuwa', which is derived from yasha', which is the Hebrew word most frequently translated "salvation." "Jesus" means God will save. It was said of Jesus at His birth:

Luke 1:71  
That we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all that hate us;
74 That He would grant unto us, that we
being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him [exercise dominion and build His Kingdom] without fear [living under our "vine and fig tree" "with no one to make them afraid" (Micah 4:1-7)]

This is what "salvation" means in the Bible.

The specific enemies Christians had in the first century were of the Jewish establishment, but I believe Jesus the Messiah will save us from our enemies today -- whoever they may be, whenever we live -- if we obey God's Law.

"But isn't the real meaning of salvation 'being forgiven of your sins and going to heaven when you die?'"

Most church-goers ask this.

Forgiveness of sins = restoration to fellowship with God,
Forgiveness of sins = restoration to our original Edenic Mandate to build the Kingdom of God.

Forgiveness of sins is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Jesus: Savior but not Messiah?

The overwhelming majority of Christians today agree with Jews who say that Jesus is not the Messiah. The vast majority of Christians believe that Jesus will not reign as Messiah until there is a second Christmas -- a second Advent, or "second coming of Christ" -- which is really the first coming of the Christ, since at His first Advent Jesus came only as "savior," -- that is, someone who secures for us a ticket to heaven when we die -- and not as "Christ" -- that is, someone who delivers us out of the hand of our enemies, sets us in a wide open place, opens the bounties of heaven, and makes our land like Eden, so we can enjoy a  “Vine & Fig Tree” society.

Many Christians in our day say that the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, therefore He could only offer to be their Savior. This is so confused it's hard to know where to begin.

  1. Most Jews accepted Jesus as Messiah; only the corrupt upper-crust establishment rejected Jesus (Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 12:24; 19:20; 21:20; Matthew 13:31-33; John 12:24,42; 3:2; 11:45; 19:38; Colossians 1:6).
  2. Jesus' claim to be a "savior" (i.e., to forgive sins [but not to punish sins as a Messiah would]), was considered blasphemous by the Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah (Matthew 9:2-8; Mark 2:3-12, Luke 5:18-26)
  3. Just because someone does not want Jesus to reign over him as Messiah is no impediment to Jesus (Luke 9:14,27). Jesus reigned as Messiah over the apostate Jews by directing Titus to destroy those who rejected Jesus as Messiah with the Roman legions in AD 70.
  4. There is no Biblical distinction between a "Messiah" and a "Savior."
    Most Christians today say Jesus came 2,000 years ago only as "Savior," and only when He comes again (in our future) will He reign as "Messiah." But if you look at how the Scriptures use the words "save" and "savior," you can easily see why no 1st-century Jew would have understood such a distinction. It is not in the Bible. In the Scriptures, "saviors" did the work of "messiahs." We saw above how Nehemiah says God sent many "saviors" to Israel after they became dissatisfied with their Gentile archist lovers:
    Nehemiah 9:27
    Therefore Thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies that vexed them: yet in the time of their affliction, when they cried unto Thee, Thou heardest them from the heaven, and through Thy great mercies thou gavest them saviors, who saved them out of the hand of their adversaries (cp. Luke 1:71,74).

    The idea that Jesus is only a "savior" but not the Messiah is is not a Biblically tenable position. There is almost no hint in the Bible that any "savior" would do nothing to "save" his people in this life, but only in the next.

A "savior" brings "salvation." Doesn't that make sense? But what is "salvation?" It is not, Biblically speaking, going to heaven after you die, having lived a life without being "saved" in the holistic Biblical sense of that word. In the Bible, saviors brought freedom from archists for God's People. See the discussion of the Hebrew word for "salvation" above.

These "saviors" were sometimes called "judges." The various "kings" of Israel could also serve as "saviors" because they would "save" Israel from her oppressors (1 Samuel 9:16; 2 Samuel 3:18, etc.).

"Saviors" in the Old Testament served what we could call primarily "messianic" functions." Biblically speaking, "savior" is virtually a synonym for "messiah." And "Messiah" is a political term, that is, a term that does not have primary reference to us after death, but reference to our lives today, in their holistic cultural, social, political, civil, economic, recreational, and legal dimensions.

A "Messiah" brings political changes. A "savior" brings "salvation." But the Biblical definition of "salvation" is not just a short-term relief on the battlefield, but long-term liberty from archists. See the definition of the Hebrew word for "salvation," yasha, which we looked at above.

A true "savior" is the Messiah who brings Christian civilization, that is, "salvation" over the long haul, now over twenty centuries.  See the five books listed here: Christian civilization. (That's an important link.)

Jay Wile writes (An Interesting Observation from China | Proslogion):

Recently, I read an article by Dr. Paul Copan entitled, “Jesus-Shaped Cultures.”1 In that article, he makes the case for how faithful Christians have transformed the societies they have served. For example, he discusses the Ethiopian famine that took place in 1984 and 1985. Brian Stewart, a CBC journalist, noted that it was Christians who were on the front lines of the famine, giving aid to the suffering. Their service was such a powerful witness to him that it started him on his journey to becoming a Christian himself.

While Copan’s article is interesting, it led me to a book that I thought was even more interesting. It is entitled Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China And Changing the Global Balance of Power, and it is written by David Aikman, who served as a journalist for Time Magazine from 1971 to 1994. In his role as a Time correspondent, he visited China several times and even lived in China for two years as Time’s bureau chief. He returned to China in 2002 to gather the information he needed to complete his book.

He begins the book in a dramatic way. It is worth quoting at length:2

The eighteen American tourists visiting China weren’t expecting much from the evening’s lecture. They were already exhausted from a day of touring in Beijing. But what the speaker had to say astonished them.

The Victory of Reason
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“One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world,” he said. “We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next, we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”

This was not coming from some ultra-conservative think tank in Orange County, California or from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. This was a scholar from China’s premier academic research institute, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing in 2002. (emphasis mine)

In his book, Aikman suggests that Christianity will transform China to the point where it won’t even be communist anymore. He suggests that in the next thirty years, nearly one-third of China could be Christian, making it one of the largest Christian nations in the world and a strong ally of the U.S.

2. David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China And Changing the Global Balance of Power, pp. 5-6

See also: The Iona Institute | Christianity the reason for West's success, say the Chinese

Today, the Chinese are "streaming" to Zion (Micah 4:1-2). So are people in Latin America, Africa, and even India, according to Philip Jenkins. Humanity has been flowing to Zion for 2,000 years, but the rate may be accelerating. This phenomenon is not yet on the radar of archists. It will dramatically increase when Christians become widely recognized as a Dispute Resolution Forum. It will exsanguinate the State by doing so.

"Social" salvation depends upon individuals having a faithful relationship to God. So let's transition from "social" salvation to "individual" salvation.

Individual Salvation

When the angel announced the meaning of Christmas to Joseph, the angel said Jesus would save us from something. From what?

Most people give the answer: "From hell."

But this is what the angel said

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins
(Matthew 1:21)

This is actually a very different concept than being saved "from hell."

Imagine a man who needs to be saved from his sins. At one time he was viewed as a success by all who knew him. After college, he earned an MBA and got on the executive fast-track at a Fortune 500 company. He has a nice home, a Lexus and a Hummer. But recently he has developed a compulsion to shoplift. He also can’t control his desire to visit prostitutes. Because of his arrests for shoplifting and prostitution, he has recently lost his job. As a result of the widespread publicity of his compulsions and arrests, he is rapidly losing the respect of his friends, neighbors, and now even his family. His wife is ready to leave him. His children are embarrassed by him, and they have begun “acting out” in school, with grades plummeting and frequent suspensions for discipline problems. He is watching his entire life crumble in front of him. But he can’t stop the shoplifting and the prostitutes. He says “Wal-Mart is a huge multi-billion dollar corporation; what’s a few hundred dollars worth of junk from China?” He also says, “A man has natural desires, and my wife doesn’t respect me anymore.” But in spite of this talk, he’s miserable, and kicks himself whenever he shoplifts, even when he “gets away with it.”

The evangelist on TV tells him that if he accepts Jesus into his heart, he can be saved from hell, and when he dies he will go straight to heaven. “Yeah,” he says to himself, “after living the next 40 years in hell.”

He doesn’t just want to be saved from hell, he wants to be saved from his sins.

How many families experience “hell on earth” because of the drunkenness, infidelity, domestic abuse, and financial anguish caused by “addictions” to drugs, sex, shopping, gambling, and power, while their church pastor drones on about “salvation” and going to heaven?

Must this misery continue till we die?
Why keep on living? Let’s all go to heaven NOW!!

This is wrong. There is an answer to earthly misery. Christmas is the answer.

A previous generation knew these “addictions” were sinful and their painful consequences wrong. Today’s relativist generation is not even sure Adolph Hitler was wrong (“He was acting according to his own standards”), but previous generations knew these things were wrong, and a measure of consolation could be obtained by trusting in God to bring repentance in the life of the adulterer, abuser, or alcoholic, even if repentance never came. Moral standards give hope. But today we have lost touch with God’s standard of holiness, and “dysfunctional” behavior is assumed to be normal, and is sometimes protected by law as an “alternative life style.” Many people today live their entire lives engulfed in a sense of meaninglessness and moral confusion. This weakened state leaves them vulnerable prey for the politically powerful.

The Bible promises more than “heaven.” In fact the Bible says very little about heaven, and far more about being “saved from our sins” in this life. These promises are summed up in the term “sanctification.”

Webster (1828 edition) defined “salvation” as, “The redemption of man from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on him everlasting happiness.”

Freedom from slavery to sin depends upon regeneration. The Holy Spirit must give an individual a new heart which wants to be obedient to God's commandments. See these ideas expressed here.

The name "Jesus" comes from the Hebrew word Yhowshuwa', which is derived from yasha', which is the Hebrew word most frequently translated "salvation."

Yasha and its derivatives are used 353 times. The root meaning . . . is “make wide” or make sufficient: this root is in contrast to sarar, “narrow,” which means “be restricted” or “cause distress.” To move from distress to safety requires deliverance. [T]he majority of references to salvation speak of Yahweh granting deliverance from real enemies and out of real catastrophes. That which is wide connotes freedom from distress and the ability to pursue one’s own objectives. Thus salvation is not merely a momentary victory on the battlefield; it is also the safety and security necessary to maintain life unafraid of numerous dangers.
John E. Hartley, “yasha,” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Vol. 1, pp. 414-15

Salvation is not "momentary." It is historical. It affects the growth and life of a civilization.

The phrase "safety and security necessary to maintain life" is also the "safety and security necessary to maintain society." In order to go to WalMart and buy a shopping cart full of food and household accessories, there has to be a global network of businesses who create and transport billions of products. Millions of human beings have to get to work on time, run the trucks on time, choose to work instead of stealing and robbing, and work the graveyard shift so that when you get to the store, all the items you want are hygienically packaged and neatly arranged on the shelf in a order which makes it possible for you to quickly find what you need and get on with life.


No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns invest the ground.
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

— Isaac Watts
"Joy to the World"


The Nature of Salvation
by David Chilton


One of the basic themes of Scripture is that salvation restores man to his original purpose. In the beginning God created man in His own image, in order that man would have dominion (Gen. 1:26-28). That task of dominion began in the Garden of Eden, but it was not supposed to end there, for man was ordered to have dominion over the whole earth: Adam and Eve (and their children) were to extend the blessings of Paradise throughout the entire world. But when man rebelled, he lost the ability to have godly dominion, because he lost fellowship with his Creator. While fallen man is still the image of God (Gen. 9:6), he is now a naked image (Gen. 3:7), for he has lost his original covering—the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). The image of God remains, to some extent, in all men—but the image has become twisted, marred, disfigured, and broken as a result of sin. And the earth, which was planned to become God’s Garden-Temple, has instead become a wilderness of thorns, thistles, sweat, scarcity, pollution, and death (Gen. 3:17-19; Isa. 24:1-6; Rom. 5:12). Man was banished from the Garden, and forbidden to enter it again.

But that isn’t the end of the story. On the very day that God pronounced judgment upon man and the earth, He pronounced a greater judgment upon the Tempter, declaring that the Redeemer would come to crush the Serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15). Accordingly, the Apostle John tells us that “the Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Scripture repeatedly draws connections and parallels: Christ came as the Second Adam, in order to undo the damage brought through the First Adam (1 Cor. 15:22, 45; Rom. 5:15-19). God had breathed into Adam the breath (in Hebrew, the Spirit) of Life, but Adam’s rebellion brought death into the world. In salvation, Christ again breathes into His people the Spirit of Life (John 20:22)—Eternal Life, which sets us free from the Curse of sin and death (Rom. 8:2), and which will ultimately result in the restoration of the entire creation (Rom. 8:19-21). In Christ we really are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), because we have been recreated in God’s image (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), and clothed again with the glory of God (Rom. 8:29-30). And, this time, the security of the restored image of God is guaranteed, because our standing is in the Christ who can never fail. In Him we have Eternal Life.

Salvation, therefore, restores man to his original calling and purpose, and guarantees that man’s original mandate—-to exercise dominion under God over the whole earth—will be fulfilled. Cornelius Van Til has pointed out that the “redemptive revelation of God had to be as comprehensive as the sweep of sin. Redemption must, in the nature of the case, be for the whole world. This does not mean that it must save every individual sinner in the world. It does mean, however, that the created universe which has been created as a unit must also be saved as a unit.”[1] Ultimately, Biblical salvation turns back the Curse, brings back Edenic conditions, repairs personal and social relationships, and blesses the earth in every area. The whole earth will be saved, and remade into the Garden of God. “For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).

In a very real sense, therefore (and progressively as the Gospel conquers the world), God’s people have always lived in “the Garden.” For example, the land of Egypt is described in Genesis 13:10 as being “like the Garden of the Lord”—and when the covenant people went there to live, they were given the area of Goshen, which was the best in all Egypt (Gen. 45:18; 47:5-6, 11, 27). In this Edenic location they were fruitful and multiplied (Ex. 1: 7)—the same expression as in God’s original command to Adam and Eve in the Garden. The Promised Land also, as we would expect, was a land in which much of the Curse had been reversed: it was “like the Garden of Eden” (Joel 2:3), and therefore “flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8).

As we shall see in future essays, the restoration of Eden is an essential aspect of the salvation that Christ provides. When the Old Testament foretold the coming of the Christ and the blessings He would bring, they often spoke in the language of Eden-restoration. Isaiah wrote: “Indeed, the Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the Garden of the Lord, joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody” (Isa. 51:3). And Ezekiel, many years later, prophesied:

Thus says the Lord God, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. And the desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it (Ezek. 36:33-36).

But there is much more in these prophecies (and others) regarding the restoration of Eden than we might notice at first glance. Indeed, there are many, many passages of Scripture which speak in terms of the Edenic patterns which do not mention Eden by name. Being set in a “large place” is spiritually being set in an “Edenic place.” 



Regeneration

In his landmark magnum opus, The Institutes of Biblical Law, Rushdoony wrote:

All law is religious in nature, and every non-Biblical law-order represents an anti-Christian religion. But the key to remedying the situation in not revolution, nor any kind of resistance that works to subvert law and order. The New Testament abounds in warnings against disobedience and in summons to peace. The key is regeneration, propagation of the gospel, and conversion of men and nations to God’s law-word.(2)

A few pages later, Rushdoony teaches that “evil men cannot produce a good society. The key to social renewal is individual regeneration.”(3)

Another: “Clearly, there is no hope for man except in regeneration.”(4)

Again: “In terms of God’s law, true reform begins with regeneration. . . .”(5)

Rushdoony also held dominion and the reconstruction of society as a secondary priority to that of conversion:

The primary purpose of conversion is that man be reconciled to God; reconciliation with his fellow man and with himself is a secondary aspect of this fact, a necessary by-product but a by-product nonetheless.(6)

Here’s Rushdoony in another publication stating the same ideas:

This is the purpose of the law of God, restoration, and the means is faith, or regeneration by the sovereign grace of God.(7)

I suspect nearly any Rushdoony book (and there are over 60) would confirm these same sentiments. Just to test my suspicion, I grabbed a random and lesser-known work that happened to be next to my chair (yes I am writing this from my easy chair), the commentary on Genesis. Sure enough, here’s the confirmation on page 107:

The truth remains that . . . man is a sinner, and can never escape the fact except by regeneration and sanctification in Jesus Christ, a member of Him and His new humanity. . . .

But what about other “dominionist” and “Rushdoonyite” authors? We have plenty of examples:

Gary North

Dominionist and Rushdoonyite Gary North wrote of our views in 1987, in a popular book called Liberating Planet Earth:

We are talking about the transformation of this world. Only when the present world has been transformed by the gospel of salvation and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, as He works through God’s redeemed people, will the world at last be delivered completely from sin, at the final judgment (Revelation 20).(8)

(Note: you only had to read eight pages into this one to get the gospel point.)

Here the transformation happens not only “when” but “only when” the gospel is preached.

In preaching against humanism and communism, North contrasts “the preaching of the gospel of personal, individual salvation,” with “the imposition by force of an elitist, top down revolutionary cadre.” He obviously sides with the former.(9) Indeed, North condemns the socialist message as “the gospel of ‘salvation through political plunder’”(10)

In another place, North affirms the centrality of the Gospel once again, this time quoting Rushdoony in Political Polytheism:

“The key to social regeneration is individual renewal,” wrote Rushdoony in 1973. But we must begin this process of reconstruction with confident faith in the gospel; we must be confident that God’s salvation is as comprehensive as sin is.(11)

North gets more explicit:

The long term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. . . . The way to achieve this political goal is through successful mass evangelism followed by constitutional revision.(12)

I had to straighten out a raging liberal on this quotation some time ago. To his credit, he at least quoted us. Mr. Friel has not yet risen even to the scholarly level of this leftist atheist.

One Reformed critic of theonomy and dominionism, William Edgar, actually represented our position correctly in First Things, in a memorial of Rushdoony after his death: “they tend to believe that God’s Kingdom will eventually be established on earth through the faithful preaching of the gospel and the faithful application of God’s law to society.”

David Chilton

How do dominionists say the kingdom of God shall gain dominion in all the earth? Dominionist David Chilton (deceased) in Paradise Restored, wrote: “The Garden of Eden, the Mountain of the Lord, will be restored in history, before the Second Coming, by the power of the Gospel; and the desert will rejoice, and blossom as the rose (Isa. 35:1).”(13) How was that again? “By the power of the Gospel.”

Disagree with the eschatology, if you will (another discussion to be had), but don’t accuse the man of calling for political activism “without the gospel.” This is something of which everyone at the table should take note.

Chilton reiterates: “By means of the gospel, His people are extending His rule over the face of the earth, until all nations are discipled and Paradise comes to its most complete earthly fulfillment.”(14)

Chilton commented on Revelation 21:24–27:

This is written of a time when the nations still exist as nations; yet the nations are all converted, flowing into the City and bringing their treasures into it. As the light of the gospel shines through the Church to the world, the world is converted, the nations are discipled, and the wealth of the sinners becomes inherited by the just. This is a basic promise of Scripture from beginning to end. This is the pattern of history, the direction in which the world is moving. This is our future, the heritage of generations to come.(15)

Chilton was quite clear here about the gospel flowing through the church.

Interestingly, Chilton directly addressed the very criticism Friel and Co. leveled here, only consider: this was published in 1985 (it is still available for free online). Chilton responded to the exact same criticism as it had come from Hal Lindsey, that “postmillennialists . . . believed that Christians would … [bring] about the Kingdom of God on earth through their own efforts.” Chilton said,

This is one of the most commonly heard objections to the Hope. The dominion outlook is equated with the liberal “Social Gospel” movement of the early 1900s. Such an identification is utterly absurd, devoid of any foundation whatsoever. The leaders of the Social Gospel movement were evolutionary humanists and socialists, and were openly hostile toward Biblical Christianity. It is true that they borrowed certain terms and concepts from Christianity, in order to pervert them for their own uses. Thus they talked about the “Kingdom of God,” but what they meant was far removed from the traditional Christian faith. Orthodox postmillennial teachers such as Benjamin Warfield and J. Gresham Machen vigorously opposed the Social Gospel. True postmillennialism has always been truly evangelical: It teaches that the Kingdom was established by Jesus Christ alone, and that the Kingdom is advanced through the spread of the gospel and the application of the Bible to every area of life.

There is another dimension to this issue, however. Since we believe that Christians will overcome all opposition and will bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, postmillennialists are accused of having faith in man. This is a radical distortion. The truth is that postmillennialists believe in God, who works in history through redeemed man. We believe that the omnipotent Lord of heaven and earth is indwelling His Church, and will not allow us to be defeated in the mission He gave us. St. Augustine prayed: “Give what You command, and command what You will.” That is our attitude as well. Because God works in history to bless the godly and curse the ungodly, history is on our side. In the battle between redeemed men and wicked men, we have faith in redeemed men. We believe that God’s people will overcome, in time and on earth, as well as in eternity. In Christ we are the heirs of all things.(16)

Chilton addressed this 28 years ago. 

Kenneth Gentry, Jr.

Ken Gentry, another postmillennialist and dominionist, writes in He Shall Have Dominion:

In response to the Pharisees, Christ specifically declared that the kingdom does not come visibly with temporal fanfare. “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). Obviously a spiritual conception of the kingdom is here demanded, in contradiction to an Armageddon-introduced, earthly, political kingdom.

This is why Christ went about preaching what is termed the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:14-15). He proclaimed a redemptive, spiritual kingdom. Hence, being exalted to His throne leads to a spiritual effusion of grace, not the political establishment of an earthly government.(17).

On page 232 of the same work, Gentry writes,

The New Testament clearly expects an era of Christian dominion to occur prior to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ in power at the final judgment. This era of dominion will produce the worldwide transformation of society through the preaching of the gospel and individuals’ widespread positive response to the message of redemption – a continuity of dominion.

Note once more: “through the preaching of the gospel”—not “political activism without the gospel.” Get that. Mr. Friel didn’t.

Ray Sutton

Dominionist Ray Sutton, in That You May Prosper, explains a little of how this works: not through government or political activism, but through individual evangelism:

The spread of the Gospel is not a top-down operation. Salvation comes from above, in that it is applied through the work of the Holy Spirit. But normally, the spread of the Gospel should be from household to household, “leavening.” This is certainly what we see in the Book of Acts. The Gospel begins in the menial households of the Roman Empire, and it spreads to the greatest family, Caesar’s household, when Paul is taken captive and converts Caesar’s own bodyguards.(18)

Conclusion

Well, there you go. Here are twenty quotations with references from the most popular and widespread works on dominionism and Rushdoonyism, all of which directly mandate the preaching of the gospel before political activism and as the only successful foundation of it. These references make this explicit, are stated in no uncertain words, and have been easily accessible for decades—some for over 40 years.

We have not even touched the writings of Gary DeMar, nor my own, nor have we examined the dozens of other writers in the movement or more loosely associated with it, now or at one time. We could find similar examples in all of these.

Mr. Friel, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Wax, and Rev. Glenn have missed all of these. These Christian leaders are all respected and trusted not to miss these kinds of things. I am glad to enter the discussion. I hope to hear from them soon. Heck, maybe we can get everyone together for another steak dinner and film the discussion over again.

Dominion, the Gospel, and Regeneration
From American Vision

Endnotes:

  1. Mr. Wax actually spoke much good sense against the points Friel and Johnson made. Though I would be critical of some of his comments, I will have to address the good points as well in a separate article.()
  2. Institutes of Biblical Law, 113.()
  3. Institutes, 122.()
  4. Rushdoony, Institutes, 449.()
  5. Rushdoony, Institutes, 627.()
  6. Institutes, 777.()
  7. Rushdoony, Politics of Guilt and Pity, 340.()
  8. Liberating Planet Earth, 8.()
  9. Ibid., 71.()
  10. Ibid., 154.()
  11. Political Polytheism, 20.()
  12. Political Polytheism, 87.()
  13. Paradise Restored, 46.()
  14. Ibid., 148.()
  15. Ibid., 208.()
  16. Ibid., 227–228.()
  17. He Shall Have Dominion, p. 226()
  18. That You May Prosper, 134.()

We live in a "Messianic State." The government claims authority over our lives which rivals the authority God Himself demands, and the State claims to provide us with "salvation" in the holistic Biblical sense of that word.

Next: Civilization as Salvation


This online celebration is sponsored by a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization called "Vine & Fig Tree." Our offices were destroyed by a tornado a couple of years ago. We're requesting a $12 "cover charge" for this party. Your donation is tax-deductible. No donation is required to participate in the "The 12 Days of Christmas." If we get 100 people to donate $12, we'll be able to pay our bills this month.
  

Or mail your check to

"Vine & Fig Tree"
P.O. Box 179
Powersite, MO 65731


The Program
12 Days Bringing to Mind
The Most Significant Event in Human History

Each day you'll receive an audio for your morning commute to work, and another audio for your commute back home. The morning audio will look at Micah's Vine & Fig Tree prophecy, and in the evening we'll show how that vision began to be fulfilled at Christmas two millennia ago.

Day 1 - Jesus is the culmination of thousands of years of meticulous genealogical records preserved by "the Chosen People," Israel.
Matthew 1:1-17 - son of David
Luke 3:23-38 - The Last Adam
 The Scriptures are God-breathed.
  
Day 2 - The Word became flesh
John 1:1-18 - The Incarnation
Luke 1:1-4 - Eyewitnesses of the Messiah recorded their testimony. Co-Founder of the Harvard Law School says their testimony would prove the resurrection in any court of law in America, at one time a Christian nation.
Jesus is "Immanuel" - God with us 
  
Day 3 - Jesus will be given "the throne of his father David."
Luke 1:5-25 - John the Baptist prepares the way for the Messiah, as prophesied of Elijah.
Luke 1:26-38 - The Angel Gabriel announces the conception of the Messiah: "And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:33)
Luke 1:39-45 - the unborn John the Baptist leaps for joy when he encounters the unborn Messiah. Planned Parenthood attempts to sell them both for body parts. (That last part is "not in the earliest manuscripts.")
 
Day 4 - Luke 1:46-56 - "The Magnificat"
Mary sings a song of praise composed of Old Testament quotations, saying that the real meaning of Christmas is good news for the poor and lowly, and bad news for the rich and powerful:
    50 And His mercy is on them that fear Him
    from generation to generation.
   
51 He hath shewed strength with His arm;
    He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
    52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
    and exalted them of low degree.
    53 He hath filled the hungry with good things;
    and the rich he hath sent empty away.
  
Day 5 - Luke 1:67-80 - Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, prophecies the birth of Jesus the anti-king.
71 That we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all that hate us;
79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
  
Day 6 - Matthew 1:18-25 - the Incarnation is explained to Joseph
"Jesus" means "salvation"
"Immanuel" means "God with us"
  
Day 7 - Luke 2:1-7
The Prophet Micah predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Jesus' parents lived in Nazereth. Therefore God predestined Caesar to issue a decree (probably relating to taxes) that would bring Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem before Jesus was born. Evil empires serve God's purposes.
 
Day 8 - Luke 2:8-14
An army of angels announces the birth of the Messiah to lowly shepherds, saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace to those with whom He is pleased!”
  
Day 9 - Luke 2:22-24
The most important family on earth could not afford the top-level offering required by the law of Moses. They took advantage of a provision for low-income families.
  
Day 10
Luke 2:25-35 - Simeon had been told he would not die before he saw the Lord's Messiah. He says Jesus is "The One."
Luke 2:36-38 - Anna the Prophetess is another well-known Godly person who acknowledges that Jesus is the Child promised by the prophets. (Christianity offered a view of women which was quite unlike that of the Empire that occupied Israel at the time.)
  
Day 11 - Wise men worship Jesus
Matthew 2:1-8 - "Wise men from the East" (Babylon, perhaps) knew of Micah's prophecy that the King of the Jews would be born in Bethlehem.
Matthew 2:9-12 - The kings from the east present the Messiah with "gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Extraordinarily expensive gifts.
  
Day 12 - Matthew 2:13-18 - Massacre of the Innocents
When Herod got word of the birth of a rival king, he behaved in a perfectly logical way (for someone who wants to protect his power):  he massacred all male babies the age of Jesus. Herod recognized that Jesus was a threat to Herod's power.

Each day along the way, we will compare these historical accounts of Christmas with Micah's Vine & Fig Tree prophecy predicting:

Our Goal for the Planet:

The message of the angels to the shepherds on the first Christmas:

And this is the sign unto you:
Ye shall find a Babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes,
and lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest,
And peace on earth
among men with whom He is well pleased.
Luke 2:8-15

Peace on Earth Begins with You.

Our Goal for You:

To be one in whom God is well pleased:

His lord said unto him, `Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.' Matthew 25:21


The Vine & Fig Tree Worldview

The phrase "Vine & Fig Tree" comes from the Old Testament Prophet Micah, the fourth chapter. You can find out more about the Vine & Fig Tree Worldview on our home page:

http://VineandFigTree.Christmas

During the next 12 days, you'll see the "real meaning" of Christmas in the Bible like you've never seen them before.

Many Christians today believe Jesus came to get us a ticket to heaven when we die. In the meantime, Satan rules the planet. Their story of the Bible goes like this:

  • God created planet earth;
  • God put man on earth to be a good steward, and transform the Garden of Eden into the City of God;
  • Satan tempted man;
  • Man rebelled against God, choosing to be his own god instead;
  • Satan now controls the world;
  • Jesus came to pay the penalty for this rebellion;
  • Things are going to get worse and worse;
  • Since Satan and man are not playing God's game by God's rules, God is soon going to take his cosmic football and go home.

In other words, Satan wins.

Pretty dismal story, isn't it?

Sure, God sent His Son, who died on the cross, so that some of the players can be forgiven for their rebellion and go home with God, but God's original purposes for man and the creation were thwarted by Satan, the ultimate victor.

Click here to listen to the "Vine & Fig Tree" worldview

Some of George Washington's favorite passages of the Bible were those that spoke of every man dwelling safely "under his own vine and fig tree." Other Founding Fathers also referred to this "Vine & Fig Tree" ideal.

(George Washington would recommend that you enroll in The 12 Days of Christmas program. He read the Bible for an hour each morning, and another hour in the evening.)

George Washington was motivated by the Vine & Fig Tree vision revealed in the Bible. Washington's Diaries are available online at the Library of Congress. They are introduced with these words:

No theme appears more frequently in the writings of Washington than his love for his land. The diaries are a monument to that concern. In his letters he referred often, as an expression of this devotion and its resulting contentment, to an Old Testament passage. After the Revolution, when he had returned to Mount Vernon, he wrote the Marquis de Lafayette on Feb. 1, 1784:

"At length my Dear Marquis I am become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac, & under the shadow of my own Vine & my own Fig-tree."

This phrase occurs at least 11 times in Washington's letters.

"And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree" (2 Kings 18:31).

Peter Lillback, author of a 1,000-page study of Washington's life and thought, has found more than 40 references to the “Vine and Fig Tree” vision in Washington's Papers.

"Vine & Fig Tree" is the original "American Dream."

The phrase occurs a number of times in Scripture. These references are visual reminders of the Hebrew word for salvation, which means
• peace,
• wholeness,
• health,
• welfare, and
• private property free from pirates and princes.
When today's Americans hear the word "salvation," they usually think about going to heaven when they die. When the writers of the Bible used the word "salvation," they wanted you to be thinking about dwelling safely under your own Vine & Fig Tree during this life -- much more often than they wanted you to be thinking about what you'll be doing in the afterlife.

Vine & Fig Tree  is also a phrase from the prophet Micah, the idea of everyone owning property and enjoying the fruits of their labor without fear of theft or political oppression, of sitting peacefully under your "Vine & Fig Tree."

Hundreds of years before Christ, the prophet Daniel spoke of the first Christmas, the birth of the Messiah in the days of the Roman Empire. That barbaric, debauched empire was destroyed, and the Kingdom of Christ began growing like a mustard tree, like leaven, like a field (Matthew 13). The Emperor Justinian began Christianizing the Eastern Roman Empire, and in the West kings like Alfred and Ethelbert made the 10 Commandments the basis of new legal systems. The "Common Law" began, with a Christian foundation, and eventually found its way into the Constitution of the United States, "a Christian nation." From 12 dejected disciples, Christianity has spread across the world, and billions of people claim to be Christian. Though there have been ups and downs, the progress of Christianity has been undeniable -- at least to those who have been taught the facts of history.

Most Americans in the 21st century have not.

If you enroll in this Home Study Program, you will learn the story of the "Vine & Fig Tree." You will learn that the Bible says the purpose of the first Christmas was that "the knowledge of the Lord should cover the earth as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14). This has been going on for 2,000 years now. This is a wonderful story that isn't being told.

And the story is really just beginning.


You're invited to celebrate
 the Twelve Days of Christmas.

No matter what time of year it may be.


Download

The Birth of Christ transformed the world.

The next 12 days can transform your life.


What is the "real meaning" of Christmas? Don't wait until "the holiday season" to find out. You'll be much too distracted. Start now.

  • The traditional song "The 12 Days of Christmas" represents the giving of opulent and impractical gifts.
  • This 12 Days of Christmas website represents a new worldview which transforms you into a peacemaker and a "good and faithful servant."

Join our online party and accomplish the following over the next 12 days:

  • read the historical accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ
  • discover "the real meaning of Christmas" by comparing the Gospel accounts of Christmas with a neglected Old Testament prophecy (Micah 4:1-7).

The "real meaning of Christmas" is:

  • Peace on Earth (Luke 2:14).
  • Everyone dwelling securely under his own Vine & Fig Tree (Micah 4:1-7).
  • Jesus is the Christ ("Christ" means "messiah," or "anointed King").

What we've already witnessed:

  • The prophet Daniel predicted that during the Roman Empire, a rock would crush the empire and turn into a mountain and fill the whole earth. Jesus is the Rock. He has been reigning for 2,000 years, ever since He rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father. His Kingdom is the Mountain, it's filling the earth, and the planet is being progressively Christianized.
    Before He rose from the dead, He had 12 dejected and confused disciples. Today over two billion people claim to be followers of Christ.
    The empire that executed Jesus soon collapsed under its own depravity. Christians began Christianizing the world. Early kings like Ethelbert made the Ten Commandments the foundation of the "common law" legal system in Europe. At one time the United States Supreme Court declared that America was "a Christian nation." "Western civilization" is Christian civilization. There have been ups and downs, but the progress cannot be denied. The Mountain is filling the earth.

Controversy:

  • Christ's Kingdom advances peacefully through works of service, not the sword. A non-military, "pacifist" Messiah was not the kind of Messiah expected by most Jews 2,000 years ago. (Nor by many Christians today.)

There are two groups that oppose this concept of Christmas:

  • "Premils"
  • "Pinkos"

"Premils" are "pre-millennialists" who believe the "millennium" (described by Micah 4 and other passages) cannot take place until after a Second Coming of Christ, when Jesus returns and sets up a strong, military, "police-state"-style centralized government, with armed believers dispatched from a throne in Jerusalem to put down unbelievers. "Premils" believe Christmas only secured for believers a ticket to heaven when they die, or a ticket on "the Rapture" if they live that long. Not global transformation.

"Pinkos" are those who believe that Jesus is not King enough to bring about the "millennium"; we need strong centralized government for that. Pinkos call us "anarchists."

During the next 12 days, we'll find out why the Premils and the Pinkos are both wrong, and why you and I can and should work to bring "Peace on Earth" so that everyone can dwell prosperously and securely under their own Vine & Fig Tree.

For more about the "Vine & Fig Tree" vision, see our home page.