Satanic Authority - RR272H16
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Let us worship God. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before his presence with singing. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name; for the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth to all generations. Let us pray. O Lord our God, unto Whom all things shall render praise in due time, lift up our hearts now unto Thee in love and adoration. Give us grace to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Thee all the days of our life. We thank Thee for the glory of this creation, and for the greater glory of Thy promises unto us in Jesus Christ. Give us grace so to walk day by day that we might show forth unto all men that we are heirs of salvation, and children of Thy kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Our scripture is from the 22nd chapter of Luke; Luke 22, verses 50 to 53; and our subject is: satanic authority—satanic authority. Luke 22:50-53. “And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” [00:02:39]
The words translated in the last sentence as ...
The words translated in the last sentence as “power” is the word we’ve considered again and again in the past few months: “exousia,” which means power and authority. What our Lord here says is that Satan has legitimate authority for his action against Jesus Christ; and He tells those who came to arrest Him, “This is your hour; and the hour of the power, the authority of the realm, the kingdom of darkness.” Repeatedly, this expression is used, the expression concerning the exousia, the authority of darkness, of Satan. For example, Paul in Colossians 1, verses 13 and14, gives thanks to God the Father, “who translated us, or delivered us, from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Again, we have that same word, and we have it repeatedly; and yet our Lord says before His ascension, “All power, all authority in heaven and earth is given unto me.” So that Christ, with His resurrection, was King of Kings and Lord of Lords; and yet, under Him, by His permission, Satan has legitimate authority. On the other hand, we are told by Paul in these words in Colossians 1:13-14 that we who are believers have been delivered from the authority of darkness: the realm, the rule, the kingdom of darkness. We have been translated by God into the kingdom of His dear Son. The word “translated” is a word in the Greek which means “changed” or “removed from one standing to another,” “from one legal status to another,” so that now, we have a new citizenship, and we are under another King, no longer citizens of the kingdom of Satan, but members and citizens of the kingdom of Christ. Christ, by His atonement, has translated, has changed us, to a new standing before God. [00:05:57]
Now, we have here a fact of very great importance...
Now, we have here a fact of very great importance. First, we have the clearly legitimate authority of Satan and his kingdom. We live in it. It is all around us, and we need to understand its authority. Any authority that denies Jesus Christ is a part of the kingdom of darkness, of the kingdom of Satan. So you know what you’re looking at when you look at the politics of our day of party after party around the world. Some are more bold and brazen about their membership in that kingdom, but they are a part of it.
Yet, we are told by Peter and the apostles in Acts 5:29, “We ought to obey God, rather than men.” Yet at the critical points, they were also both respectful of evil authorities, while standing firmly on their God-given ground. Thus, we live in two worlds—not an easy thing to do: we’re in the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of Satan, and I submit in every county and in every state in this country, and the world over, whatever their particular governmental division are, you will see an organized and vicious, murderous form of this evil kingdom with legitimate authority. I know that I have not lived anywhere where I didn’t see it. The premise of that realm, Satan’s realm, is Genesis 3:5, “Ye shall be as god; every man his own god, knowing, determining for yourself what constitutes good and evil; every man his own source of law; every unit its own lawmaker, with full contempt for God’s Law.” [00:08:27]
The essence of sin is that it is anti-God...
The essence of sin is that it is anti-God; and John tells us in I John 3:4, that sin is the transgression of the law, God’s Law. That’s what sin is about. If you deny God’s Law, you’ve denied, ultimately, sin; and then you begin to substitute wishy-washy, sentimental clichés for the law of God and for the doctrine of sin; and you begin to soft pedal the significance of sin, and you detach it, by the way, from the sinner: that you should hate the sin and love the sinner. Well, sin isn’t something in the abstract. It’s what a person is and does. So how can you take and detach the sin from the sinner, and say, “Well, there was stealing; there was no thief.” Now, of course, Islam does that. They do not say that I lost my watch (that is a doctrine of responsibility they do not adhere to); the watch of Mohammad Ali has lost itself! And that’s the kind of thinking we get all around us now: love the sinner, and hate the sin—as though there’s a difference, and there is none! Sin is the transgression of the law, God’s Law, by an individual who is a sinner, who wants to move against God’s Law. That’s the appeal of the sin. It is the defiance of God’s Law. The appeal of illicit sexuality is its sinfulness. The prevalence of homosexuality and of incest, and the growing emphasize—as in San Francisco, in some circles—on bestiality indicates how far men are ready to go in their defiance of God. [00:10:51]
On the other hand, the premise of the kingdom of Christ...
On the other hand, the premise of the kingdom of Christ is our change and our removal to that realm by Christ’s redeeming blood atonement by the forgiveness of sins. To be in that realm is to be a member of Jesus Christ. And even, as in the first temptation, we have the premise of the kingdom of darkness, “Ye shall be as god, knowing good and evil”; so, in the great temptation of Christ in the wilderness—from paradise, now, the world has been turned into wilderness—and Satan says, “Justify me. Agree that I was light.” And our Lord gives three answers, one to each of the temptations, each premised with the authority of the Bible, the Word of God: “it is written; it is written; it is written.” And what He tells him is, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” And, second, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord, thy God; you shall not put God to the test. You will not demand that God prove something to you. God can put you to the test; you cannot put God to the test. And thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God; and Him only shalt thou serve.” [00:12:44]
Now, here, we have the three premises of the kingdom...
Now, here, we have the three premises of the kingdom of Christ, just as in Genesis 3:5, we have the great humanist manifesto, out of which all other humanist manifestos proceeded. So we have here the two great rounds. When our Lord said in the third premise of His kingdom, “Thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve,” it’s important to understand what worship means. The word that is used here for worship is literally to kiss towards, to do homage, to submit, to obey. We have an example of what that means in the last three verses of Psalms 2:10-12, when the rebellious nations are told, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish in your way.” This was to kiss, to do homage, to submit in the fashion that was then commonplace: you stretched yourself out prostrate before the figure of the king or emperor, and kissed his feet. And he could, if you were a rebel or a conquered person, do what was commonly done: take and put his foot on your head, to indicate that you are now under him.
Now, worship is that—precisely that. It means total submission—not to any man. This is why we are forbidden to worship anything that is human, or to yield that kind of obedience to anything that is human. This is why the Christians were offensive wherever they went. This is why even a few centuries ago, people like the Quakers (without approving of the Quakers) were offensive, because they recognized what doing homage to the king meant when they refused to take their hat off in his presence, or in the presence of a judge, or anyone else. It is interesting that I’ve known, of course, where judges have threatened anyone in the courtroom who did not take off his hat. By the way, in New York, the attorneys—with the judge’s permission—in all their municipal courts, leave their hat on; because if they put it down, given the character of the defendants and most of the people in the courtroom, they will never see their hat again. [00:16:02]
But this is the meaning of worship, and we are only...
But this is the meaning of worship, and we are only to worship God. This is the premise: “Thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” These two realms are in history: the fallen humanity, and the redeemed humanity of Jesus Christ. God gives authority to the realm of Satan. We must obey God; but we must not, at the same time, be revolutionaries. We are warned by this in scripture, especially by Paul, in I Corinthians, the 7th chapter, and the 20th, the 23rd, and the 24th verse; and again in Colossians 1:13-14, makes it clear that we are called, not to be revolutionaries, but we have been regenerated; and regeneration is the way the world is to be changed; and then by the obedience, the worship, we give to God. You don’t worship God if you do not serve Him: “Him only shalt thou serve.” We must not be the servants of men: this, Paul tells us specifically. [00:17:47]
Well, we have a problem, do we not? We are members...
Well, we have a problem, do we not? We are members of a kingdom, but live also in another, which has legitimate authority from God. Why did God do it that way? Well, there is an interesting sentence that sums up a great deal in scripture in a rather unorthodox source, the poet William Blake. William Blake was a repository of every idea that ever went around. He never discarded anything. He had a grape arbor near his house, and he refused ever to prune anything in it. He didn’t believe in pruning, either his grapes or his mind. But in this one sentence, he summed up something very, very important: he said, “I saw a finger of God go forth, giving a body to falsehood, that it might be cast off forever.” Now that’s what Hebrews 12 is talking about, when in verses 18, following, Hebrews 12 tells us that God in the Old Testament era put the nations to a great shaking. And now the coming of Christ and the worldwide expansion of His realm, His kingdom, the things which are being shaken all over again. Why? So that only those things which are unshakable might remain. So, we live in a world of great shaking, and God has a purpose in it. He lets men have the freedom, he allows falsehood to have a body, as it were, so that all the evil imaginations of man’s heart can take form and haunt him, and destroy him; so that he is driven to the recognition that his way is the way of death. And men again and again, and nations again and again have worked with all their heart, mind, and being to give a body to the falsehood they worship; and then in horror, worked to cast it off. [00:20:40]
James tells us in his letter, ...
James tells us in his letter, 1st chapter, verses 13 to 15, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Men go their own way. They want to blame God; or, like Flip Wilson used to say, “The devil made me do it.” Well, John Dunn in one of his poems was more honest: he spoke of tempting Satan to tempt us, so that we can say, “The devil made me do it.” Men insist on seeing sin as a great and glorious human possibility—a part of their possibility thinking. And God says, “Fine. I’ll give you authority to work it out. You work out your humanistic United States or Great Britain, or Soviet Union, or whatever the case may be. You work towards the Great Society, or the world’s socialist state.” And men are allowed by God to see the conclusion of their marvelous dreams of replacing God with something better; and the end, thereof, is death. [00:22:43]
So, men are allowed to see the conclusion of their...
So, men are allowed to see the conclusion of their faith and its end results. The premise of Genesis 3: 5—every man his own god, every man his own moral arbiter and lawmaker—is given authority by God. So if God says, “It’s the kingdom of darkness, but if that’s what you want, I declare it has legitimate authority under my Son—legitimate authority. It isn’t going to be called an illegal thing. It is the product of rebellion, of revolution against God, but I’m going to give you legitimate authority. Let’s see how you like it.” So the authority of the power of darkness is allowed to have its sway in history. It does have a widespread scope. Look at our economics, our politics, our education, our law, and our law enforcement, our churches, our arts, our sciences, and more. In all these realms, men are exercising exousia—power and authority—as ordained by God, by God’s permission; and they’re going to be responsible for the results. And as God tells the nations through Isaiah, when He speaks of the great shaking He will bring on all nations, when the consequences of their own lives and fates works out its implications, “They shall know that I am the Lord.” [00:24:56]
Paul tells us in Romans ...
Paul tells us in Romans 13, “The powers that be are ordained of God.” He also tells us that they must be a terror to evildoers. If they become a terror, instead, to the godly, they are moving towards death. Psalm 1 draws the parallel between the counsel of the ungodly, and the way of the Lord and his law: “Those who delight in the law of the Lord,” the law of such, we are told, that “whatsoever they do shall prosper, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” And Psalm 2 applies the same premise to all the nations, who say “let us break the band, the chords, the restraints of God’s law asunder, and they take counsel”; or, it can be translated: “they conspire together against the Lord and His anointed.” And God just sits back and laughs. In due time, judgment falls upon them. Satanic authority, therefore, is real; it is legitimate, but its end is death. The authorities of our time, therefore, in so far as they depart from God’s Law, have adopted a course, whose end is death. And we can say of men, and of political parties, and political platforms, and of individuals: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” [00:27:06]
Let us pray. Thy word is truth, O Lord, and Thy word has power and authority. Give us grace, O Lord, to walk everyday as members of no mean city, as citizens of Thy kingdom, commissioned to power and authority over the nations; to go forth and to conquer in Thy name, and to bring all things into captivity through Jesus Christ. Thy word is truth, O Lord, and the nations are crumbling the world over, as they pursue the way of the powers and authorities of darkness. And we see, indeed, in our time the floodwaters rising high and the earthquakes shaking the mountains, that we can rejoice, for the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Our God, we thank Thee. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Are there any questions now?
[Questioner] Rush, what was that passage in the Old Testament you discussed here a while back? It’s the inverse of the Golden Rule: as you have done, so shall it be made for you, or something.
[Rushdoony] Yes. That’s in Obadiah. Yes. Obadiah tells the ungodly, “As ye have done, so shall it be done unto you.” So, that verse doesn’t have the popularity of the Golden Rule, but it’s the other side of it.
[Questioner] Well, the Golden Rule and that rule, set in context, is almost like a summary of everything you said today.
[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:29:23]
[Questioner] It like the Christian lives with the Golden...
[Questioner] It like the Christian lives with the Golden Rule internally, and fights that other rule externally.
[Rushdoony] Yes. No, Obadiah is a marvelous little book; a great deal in it that’s very, very telling. In the 15th verse of Obadiah, which has only one chapter, “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.” There’s a like verse in Jeremiah. It’s a good Old Testament, as well as New Testament, premise. Yes, Jeremiah 50:29, “Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel.”
[Questioner] Well, what this amounts to is a betrayal...
[Questioner] Well, what this amounts to is a betrayal of power as a trap.
[Rushdoony] Very good observation! Tremendous; because that’s exactly what power apart from God is. God is saying, “You want to die? Go ahead. I’m giving you the power to do so.” So he’s given the power to the Soviet Union, the United States, and every nation and every individual in the world to kill himself.
[Questioner] I would think our foreign policy, you know, would be to live godly. If you live godly, then you would help that process, and you’d aid in that process to conclusion.
[Rushdoony] Well, I don’t think Satan is displeased with our State Department.
[Questioner] They say give a man enough rope, and he’ll hang himself; is that along the line of what you’re referring to?
[Rushdoony] Exactly! That is a thoroughly biblical observation: give a man rope enough, and he will hang himself. And God gives us the rope!
[Questioner] Of course, some will try to hang us. [general laughter] You know, those verses you read from Obadiah and Jeremiah also seem to knock in the head the idea of you should hate the sin and love the sinner; because –
[Rushdoony] Oh, yes.
[Questioner] – to do good to those who do evil; and the Bible just in those two verses says the opposite.
[Questioner] Thus, destroying the idea that hate the sin and love the sinner is a Christian idea, or a biblical concept.
[Rushdoony] They cannot find anything in the Bible to substantiate that. They get it out of their humanism.
Any other questions or comments?
Well, if not, let us bow our heads in prayer. Glory be to Thee, O God, Who dost rule all things in Thy wisdom and majesty. We thank Thee, our Father, that Thou art on the throne; and that Thy ways are above and beyond all men, all nations; and we praise Thee. And now, go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always. Amen. [00:34:04]