In the Bible, "salvation" has two aspects: individual and
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
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
(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
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
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
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,
means to an end, rather than peaceful,
Consider first the phrase "safety
and security necessary to maintain life." This is also
the "safety and security necessary to maintain a prosperous and
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
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).
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”
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
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
(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
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
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
Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your
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
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
substantially true, that virtue
is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed,
extends with more or less force to every species of free
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
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
And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD
is upon Me,
Because the LORD
has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the
He has sent Me to heal the
To proclaim liberty to the
And the opening of the prison to
those who are bound;
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:
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.
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.
So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of
"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
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:
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
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
Forgiveness of sins is a means to an end, not an end in
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.
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
9:2-8; Mark 2:3-12, Luke 5:18-26)
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.
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
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,
them out of the hand of their adversaries
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
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
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.
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 TimeMagazine
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
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.
“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,
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.
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
will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He
will save His people from their sins
This is actually a very different concept than being saved
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
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
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
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
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
Nor thorns invest the ground.
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.
One of the basic themes of Scripture is that salvationrestores
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
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 Sonof God appeared for this
purpose, that He might destroy theworks of the devil” (1John 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.”
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 Hewill 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
In his landmark magnum opus, The Institutes of Biblical Law,
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
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:
Dominionist and Rushdoonyite Gary North wrote of our views in
1987, in a popular book called Liberating
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
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
“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)
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.”
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
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
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)
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.
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)
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
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.(↩)
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.
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
If we get 100 people to donate $12, we'll be able to pay our bills
Or mail your check to
& 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
Day 3 - Jesus will be given "the throne of his
1:5-25 - John the Baptist prepares the way for the Messiah,
as prophesied of Elijah.
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
1:39-45 - 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.")
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:
His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation. 51He
hath shewed strength with His arm; He
hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52He
has put down
the mighty from theirthrones, and
exalted them of low degree. 53He
hath filled the hungry with good things; and the
rich he hath sent empty away.
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.
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 -
2:25-35 - Simeon had been told
he would not die before he saw the Lord's Messiah. He says Jesus
is "The One."
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
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.
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:
The message of the angels to the shepherds on the first
And this is the sign unto
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
among men with whom He is well pleased. Luke
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
The Vine & Fig
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:
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.
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
"And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man
under his vine and under his fig
tree" (2 Kings 18:31).
The phrase occurs a
number of times in Scripture. These references are visual
reminders of the Hebrew word for salvation,
• 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
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.
Join our online party and accomplish the following over the next
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
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.
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" 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
"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.