There is a True Emperor, and He has come.

“By the advent of the Saviour, then, paganism decreases, philosophy declines, all dæmoniacal deceits perish. The faith of Christ, on the other hand, spreads, and opposition to it decays.

As the darkness vanishes before the sun, so heathen darkness prevails no longer, and the whole earth is illuminated by Christ’s teaching.

The appearance of the true emperor exposes the usurpers; so the advent of Christ has exposed and silenced the usurpation of dæmons and idols.
The Son of God, the Only-Begotten Word, alone remains, while temporal things are vanishing away.
[Athanasius of Alexandria, Athanasius: On the Incarnation of the Word of God, trans. T. Herbert Bindley, Second Edition Revised. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1903), 39.]

“For as when the sun is up darkness no longer prevails, but if there is any left anywhere it is driven away; so now, when the Divine Manifestation of the Word of God is come, the darkness of the idols prevails no longer, but every part of the whole earth is everywhere illuminated by His teaching. And just as, when an emperor is reigning in some country and does not appear, but remains within his own house, frequently some disorderly persons, abusing this withdrawal of his, proclaim themselves, and each being invested with the outward show, cheats the simple with his appearance as emperor, and thus men are deceived by the name, hearing indeed that there is an emperor, but not seeing him, p 145 especially as they cannot make their way within into his house; but when the true emperor comes forth and appears, then the disorderly deceivers are convicted by his presence, and men, seeing the true emperor, abandon those who formerly deceived them: so, in like manner, dæmons formerly deceived men, investing themselves with God’s honour; but when the Word of God appeared in a body, and made known to us His Father, at that moment the deceit of the dæmons vanishes and ceases; and men, looking to the true God, the Word of the Father, abandon idols, and themselves come to a clear knowledge of the true God.”

Athanasius of Alexandria, Athanasius: On the Incarnation of the Word of God, trans. T. Herbert Bindley, Second Edition Revised. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1903), 144–145.

Christ is King


What was Adam’s task in the garden (see Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-17)? Adam’s purpose was not only to stay away from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man’s purpose was (and is) to have dominion over creation.

By sin, Adam failed in that task, but the dominion mandate has not been rescinded. With the “sweat of his brow,” man must exercise dominion (notice the parallel between Genesis 2:15 and 3:17-19. The work remains, but it is with much difficulty). The covenant peoples, the Israelites first, and now, in this age, those in Christ, have been great culture-builders. Taking the command to heart, great civilizations have arisen from within Israel and Christendom. Seeing what great accomplishments of dominion has brought while under sin, it is an even more amazing to contemplate what may have been accomplished had sin not entered.

But praise be to God, what the first Adam failed to do, the Second Adam does. Christ, the Second Adam, completely fulfills what was lacking in the first; Christ is the king that Adam refused to be.

25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” 1 Corinthians 15:25 (ESV)

“Must reign” is present tense, active mood, indicating not a future reign only, but a present and active reign. It isn’t spiritual only, or only “in our hearts.” Christ is king today, and always has been. Every human government and ruler is subject and answerable to Him. Because of the resurrection, Christ reigns now. When those who are “in Christ” build cultures, they do their work as co-regents with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 20:4).

The resurrection provides the logic for the kingship of Jesus: Jesus is the first-fruit of those risen from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20). Verses 21 and 22 indicates that Jesus, the Second Adam brings life where Adam brought death. Jesus completes Adam’s mission, the dominion (cultural) mandate. This is the meaning of His reign–to do what Adam did not do.

Every king and ruler, every government, faces death. History proves that every ruler is someday a footnote to history; and this holds true of empires as well. Mortality swallows them all. Now the greatest threat any government can use against its enemies and its people, is the same weapon that will destroy themselves: death. Beyond physical death, man can do nothing (Matthew 10:28). By destroying the power of death, both physical and eternal (1 Corinthians 15:54-57), Jesus is firmly established as the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (Revelation 17:14). There is nothing that the rulers of this world, or kings of the earth, can hold against a Christ.

So where does this leave the Christian, the one who is “in Christ?” Where He reigns, we reign.[i]

“The gates of hell” [Matthew 16:18] cannot prevail against an advancing church. Satan is in retreat, not the people of God. Rather than giving up cultural ground to the enemy, which has been the refrain among Christians at least since Darby and Scofield, the church is to take cultural ground, creating and defining it. The much-maligned (by Christians and pagans alike) Christendom, when Christian thought and God’s Law prevailed, was the church’s greatest era.

[i] Consider the passages which speak of being “in Christ” or “in Him” (referring to Christ):

Jn 1:4; 6:56; 15:5; Ac 10:43; Ro 3:24; 6:11, 23; 8:2, 39; 12:5; 16:3, 7; 1 Co 1:2, 5, 30; 15:22; 2 Co 1:19, 20; 2:14; 5:17, 19, 21; 13:4; Ga 1:22; 2:4, 17; 3:14, 26, 28; 5:6; Eph 1:3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 20; 2:6, 7, 10, 13, 22; 3:6, 11, 12, 21; 4:21, 32; Php 1:1; 2:1, 5; 3:3, 9, 14; 4:7, 19; Col 1:2, 17, 19, 24; 2:6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15; 1 Th 4:16; 2 Th 1:12; 2 Ti 1:1, 9; 2:10; 3:12; Phm 8; Heb 3:14; 1 Pe 3:16; 5:10, 14; 1 Jn 2:5, 6, 27, 28; 3:6, 17, 24; 4:13, 15, 16; 5:20


On Toleration

Given the amount of misinformation surrounding the new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), I think it might be good to speak to the matter of toleration, and surprisingly (for many), it is not necessarily the good that we think. Toleration is often left undefined, and how toleration plays out is not always thought through.

Toleration is in short supply these days, it seems, but one rarely looks at oneself as the intolerant one. This article by Rousas Rushdoony may help:

The bitter hostilities and sometimes savage persecutions for religious reasons of all dissenting elements once marked Christendom and marred its professions of faith. Supposedly, we have now entered into more enlightened times, and toleration is the rule. But, before we congratulate ourselves on being wiser and more advanced, let us remember hostility and savagery have not disappeared. Rather, they have merely been transferred from religion to politics.

The humanism of the Enlightenment, in line with the thinking of Bayle and many others, viewed religious differences as of trifling important. Religion was seen as mere opinion, superstition, and blind belief. To argue or fight over something like religion was hardly becoming to any intelligent man. Toleration, instead of representing moral advance, represented moral indifference. Moreover, strong convictions, as they left Christianity, entered into politics, so that politics became the new religion, and the wars of religion became total political and military wars. The 20th century sees the full-fledged holy political wars, although their first great eruption came with the French Revolution. There has been no moral advance.

Toleration in the modern age was born out of a false premise, namely, that Christian faith is a mere opinion and a matter of indifference. Now men kill and die over matters of politics. The more clearly humanistic and anti-Christian these new men are, the more savagely they kill, torture, and destroy. The fascists and the communists are the clearest example of this, but the democracies are moving in the same direction. Moreover, as the new religion of politics triumphs, it drops all pretense of toleration to persecute Christianity openly. On gaining power, political religions can tolerate no free or independent opinion in any realm. Thus, the so-called progress in religious toleration was no progress at all but simply a shift in the locale of intolerance.

The growth of toleration with respect to Christian doctrine and differences was thus a manifestation of indifferentism both within and without the church. Men began to speak of the many roads to God, and to explore other religions with appreciation. Christianity waned as revelation and was stressed as a means of creative self-expression. “Why not try God?” one printed appeal of recent years read. Indeed, why not? Having found mouth washes good for the breath, and soaps and deodorants good for the body, why not try God for the good of one’s peace of mind? God, from the sovereign lord and creator of all things, was reduced to a human resource.

The dictionary defines toleration as tolerating what is not wholly approved, as the spirit and desire to be tolerant in matters of opinion. Intolerance is defined as bigotry, as an unwillingness to tolerate, bear, or endure contrary beliefs and opinions. Now, if politics is the order of reality and truth for us, we cannot then tolerate a contrary belief, because it is then very clearly a danger and a menace. Hence, the communists cannot tolerate republican capitalists, and true republicans cannot tolerate communists. Politics has then ceased to be a matter of opinion: it has become a matter of reality and of sanity.

The Christian cannot favor either tolerance or intolerance. First of all, both positions reduce Biblical religion to a matter of opinion, a position he must emphatically deny. Second those who profess toleration hold that the truth will be discovered by free inquiry, whereas the Bible is clear that the truth of God is known by revelation from God and is received by the Spirit of God working in man to hear God’s written word. The key on man’s part is thus not free inquiry, however worth while or earnestly pursued, but regeneration. Similarly, those who believe in intolerance assume that repression can change the human scene. But man is not remade by law, nor by repression, but by the regenerating power of God. Neither toleration nor intolerance have anything to do with it.

Paul tells us that, for all the unredeemed, God’s law is a curse: it is a death sentence upon all men (Deut. 27):

10. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal. 3:10–14)

For an unregenerate man to attempt to pass before God by law-keeping is impossible: he is under God’s curse, and God’s law accuses him for his lawlessness. For a man to claim that he sees no reason for God to condemn him as he goes his own way, because he neither kills, steals, nor commits adultery, is arrogance and evil. Most men keep within the law on these things out of fear of the state’s police, and in fear of their wives! They serve themselves best, and most easily gratify their will to be god in their own lives, by keeping within the law. Their’s is not morality but cautious sin. No man can justify himself before God, nor make atonement for his sin. Consider this fact: God’s law is life, peace, and strength to the redeemed (Ps. 119). “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Ps. 119:165). This same law is a curse, not peace nor strength, to the unregenerate.

Now, if God’s law is a curse to the unregenerate, how much more so is humanistic man’s law a curse to him! Man makes his laws in order to save himself by law. He says of politics and law: This is the order of reality and of salvation; we men will remake the world and ourselves by our works of law. What God’s law curses is man’s way. If man seeks to use God’s law, or a Pharisaic version thereof, as a means of salvation, he is accursed. What Paul condemns is precisely the Pharisaic perversions of the law erected into a plan of salvation. If these are condemned, how much more so the openly humanistic versions of law stand condemned. They are, moreover, all the more a curse to man. The new religion of politics and its doctrine of salvation by humanistic law is thus a fearful curse upon mankind.

No man, says Paul, is justified by the law in the sight of God. Rather, the just shall live by faith. The justified thus do not see politics as salvation. Moreover, they recognize the errors in both tolerance and intolerance. These involve a trust in man’s work and way rather than in the promise of the Spirit.

Thus, we cannot stand in terms of the Biblical doctrine of justification and pursue the dream of fallen man, from Cain, through Rome, to the present, of salvation by politics. It is the tempter’s program.

Rousas John Rushdoony, Systematic Theology in Two Volumes, vol. 1 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994), 637–639.