Exposé of the Babylonian Whore and Antichrist; its mystery and abomination old and new. Also concerning the victory, peace and rule of the true Christians, and published to show in what manner they obey the authorities, and bear the cross of Christ without rebellion and resistance, with patience and love to the glory of God,and to assist, strengthen, and perfect all the faithful and those who inquire after God.
Matt. 22 [:21]
Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s
Prov. 24 [:21]
Have nothing to do with the rebellious
May God give his grace toward true understanding for all who sincerely seek the truth in this last and perilous time. This time has now come, according to the word of the Lord in Matt. 24 [:11-12]. It says that temptations so difficult will come that it is possible that even the elect would not escape them unless the days were shortened. Lord, come; cut them short soon for the sake of your chosen ones. May your will be done soon.
Since the evidence of our eyes, our experience, and the witness of Scripture which sufficiently discloses itself through the action and favour of God, and which is now also understood through the events which are everywhere unfolding according to the Word of the Lord, all of God's creatures should tremble and be afraid of the stern judgement of God on his awesome day which is to come (Isa. 24[:21ff.]; Jon. 2[:?], 3[:4], Zeph. 1[:7-18], 2[:2], 3[:8]). The fact that the ruined, sodomitic, perverted, abandoned, and seductive world does not comprehend this nor show any fear means that the Scripture in the Lord's Word is even now being fulfilled where it says that in the time of Lot and Noah they ate and drank, married and gave in marriage without any alarm, until they were altogether destroyed (Luke 17[:26-30]).
Already the world overflows with the evil that once lay hidden in the mystery of wickedness. This mystery is now being exposed through her own shame, just like a secret adulteress who for a long time deceived her husband under a false cloak of pious faithfulness and has now quite brazenly gone public. She has assumed all the wiles of a whore in order to seduce and deceive others with her thousand-fold cunning and skill. The whole world is now full of error and seduction, and all generations on earth are drunk with the wine of fornication, Rev. 18[:3]. Only a few are shocked and have struggles of conscience from which the pure fear of God and true insight flow.
Although the great power of God is revealed and is now made manifest in the little flock in all its weakness, the villainous whore has, as always, not hesitated to make unclean and to defile that glory by means of many temptations and errors which emerge from the heart of the community of the faithful. They [the purveyors of error], however, are not of us as John says in 1 John 2[:19]. But right there the whore is active with many false teachings and her own inventions to spy out our freedom according to the words of Paul in Gal. 2[:4]. Blessed are those who are not stained nor polluted with this whoredom for they have been bought with the blood of the Lamb as firstfruits, Rev. 14 [:4], and rescued through the power of the Lamb, for the Lamb is the lord of Lords, and all the called, chosen and faithful ones are with him, Rev. 17 [:14], to whom alone be glory from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.
It is not really necessary to speak against the red Roman Whore now exposed. For a long time she masqueraded as though she were married to the great spouse and bridegroom Christ. In this way she deceived and seduced both herself and others with her fornication. For the just and legitimate spouse and bridegroom Christ is now expelling and condemning her and all her strumpets, and is betrothing and marrying a new people to himself through his cross, blood, and tribulation as is now evident. But it is the sign of the time that the serpent with her cunning is using new stratagems in her clever and tenacious mutiny against the true and spotless bridegroom Christ, as he has said. But our bridegroom has overcome the world and all its wickedness with his cross and death (John 16 [:33]). In him we will overcome and conquer in all things under the cross, in the simplicity of faith.
In order that the deceitful Whore and serpent with all her children and strumpets should perceive, know, and apprehend that a genuinely guileless faith can detect all of her more recent insidious and deceptive tricks, as well as her customary malice which she plies against the children of God, I have decided to describe them and also to present an alternative. I am urged to do this as follows by a sense of obligation, to the praise of God, and for the service and strengthening of the faithful. May the Lord give his grace.
First, once the dragon and old serpent (Rev. 20 [:2]), who for a long time had concealed himself in the pretence of being the spouse and bride of Christ and deceived the whole world, became aware that his time was near, he in the dispensation of God revealed himself in part through his own prophets as though he was sorry for the colossal errors and apostasy of the Christians. These prophets changed and made more attractive the great mystery of wickedness in the appearance of godliness, especially through the artifice of Scripture by which people are easily deceived. They presented infant baptism and the pope’s idolatry [the mass or Lord’s Supper], over which they quarrelled, and prattled about receiving it in both kinds sub utraque specie [in both kinds, the bread and the wine], as the most important matters on which their salvation depended, and so filled the whole world with their contentions and writings. Thus Satan could carry out his seductions all the better. In Martin Luther’s eyes all who eat and drink both the body and blood of Christ, regardless of whether they are adulterers or prostitutes, gluttons or drunkards, gamblers, murderers, betrayers, tyrants, deceivers, or whatever else are all a good community of his kind of godliness. Even as, in Luther’s view, the body of Christ is in the bread and the blood in the chalice, his faithful ones and disciples are transformed into the nature and essence of Christ. For everything a person eats changes from its natural essence into something else; even so, should not their natures be changed into the nature and essence of Christ? As the teaching is, so also is the fruit. Even as Luther and his followers persuaded the common people valiantly to defend the Word of God, all the while whitewashing that defence with Scripture so that they were prepared to give life and limb for it, so now they induce the Princes, the nobility, and the cities to resist the Emperor.
Woe to us because of the great bloodshed which God will bring upon all of the false prophets and their supporters, as can be seen even now (Jer. 6, Ezek. 22 [:3-4], 23). May the Lord lead his own out of their troubles; may they not strike back, but remain under the cross and shadow of his wings in true patience (Ps. 17 [:8], 57 [:1]). For the Lamb of Christ must suffer and be killed until the end of the world (Luke 17 [?], Rev. 13 [:8]). Pilate, Herod, Annas, and Caiaphas will unite against it as they united against the head (Luke 23). Christ was subject to all Authority and never responded with violence. Even so today we must not resist. We will give the Emperor what is his and God what belongs to God (Matt. 22 [:21]). For the Authority has power over all temporal things except over vengeance which belongs only to God and never to man (Rom. 12 [:19], Heb. 10 [:30]). I know of no other Authority specifically appointed by God than the Emperor; all emperors hold the imperium even today and will hold it until the appointed time of which Daniel speaks (Daniel 11 [:36]), when the wrath of God shall come over the whole world (Isa. 24 [:17-21]). For all flesh needs his authority and rule.
But Christ does not distribute earthly inheritance or imperium. His own, whether they are treated justly or not, requite and repay with patience and love. All external things including life and limb are subjected to external authority. But no one may coerce or compel true faith in Christ, for it is concerned not with temporal but eternal life. This neither God nor any creature in heaven nor on earth can take away (Rom. 8 [:38-39], Matt. 10 [:28]). All true Christians have this faith, and that is why they are not concerned about their earthly life (Heb. 11 [:13-14], Luke 10 [:41-42], Col. 3 [:1-3]). Many are demonstrating this today, God be praised.
To sum up, I present to the so-called evangelicals and their teachers and preachers no other alternative than the crucified, patient, and loving Christ. Whoever does not preach Christ but rather preaches the opposite is against Christ, regardless of whether he is an old or a new pope or Antichrist. Even if they were to preach skilfully about God as Christ himself, it will not help unless they preach the gentle, humble Christ who can be known only under the cross, patience, and love. Whoever is not thus taught and so learns, no matter how evangelical he is, will interrupt Christ at the Judgement and say: “Lord, did we not drive out devils, prophesy, preach, eat and drink in your name?” Christ will answer: “Depart from me, you evildoers, I do not know you” (Matt. 25 [:41-44], Luke 13 [:26-27]). I could wish that those who avoid the strait gate of the cross of Christ and teach others to avoid it would read and understand the judgement of Christ more closely. Unless they have no faith at all, they should be very alarmed, for surely this judgement fits the new evangelical preachers and their followers more precisely than anyone else. They do in part speak the truth about Christ, but they don’t want to go through the narrow gate (Matt. 7 [:13-14]), because for carnal reasons they pressed the sword into the hand of the common people, dressing it up with scriptural teaching. According to Jude, those who resisted [Moses] perished in the uprising of Korah. At the present moment they hide behind princes, cities and nobles, and incite them to follow the way of Cain by which they are submerged in error through the instructions of the prophets of Balaam. With much greater and more awful bloodshed than in the Peasant War, they will all perish in the rebellion of Korah, which is not the same as dying for Christ. May the Lord lead his own out of such rebellion.
I give them testimony that I came to the truth partly through their writing, teaching, and preaching, for I was deeply possessed and imprisoned by the human laws of the papacy which is nothing by demon possession. Through their teachings and writings I was set free to the liberty of the flesh. Where before I had been bound and had suffered in conscience, I was now free. I ate and drank with these teachers before the Lord as I then understood it, and thought that they preached a splendid Christ. In this new freedom I vigorously opposed the papacy with all the writings that helped me in that task as long as they agreed with the understanding, which was true, that it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but what comes out of his heart (Matt. 15 [:10-11]. Confession and other papist rules and human inventions, which were not so easy to fulfil but did not have the true spirit of Christ, I readily accepted. Indeed the teachings in and of themselves were not wrong. But then as now the evangelical teachers said nothing about the mystery of the cross of Christ, and the narrow gate through which the flesh and the one who has who had been liberated from the Babylonian captivity could once again be led into the liberty of Jerusalem. On this there is silence. Not only that, but those who announce and teach it are persecuted by these teachers, who become their betrayers and executioners. For this reason they are justly called those workers of evil whom Christ banishes from his presence (Matt. 7 [25:41]). They teach the truth and the Gospel partially and point to the true way like a wooden hand at the fork in the road. What is missing in their teaching is the cross of Christ; they resist it and teach others to resist it. They take refuge behind princes, lords and cities although patient endurance, which alone triumphs over all tribulation, must be learned only under the cross. Christ the Lamb will be victorious (Rev. 17 [:14]), and not the lion, bear, wolf, dog, and leopard who gnash their teeth against each other and threaten to devour each other [Rev. 13:2].
Woe and alas for the teaching and kingdom of the Antichrist which now appears everywhere and which must be revealed (2 Tim. 3 [:1-9]). Discern and hear, all who have eyes and ears. Who are the deceivers and rebels, the Lamb of God or the cruel beasts? Children of God, have nothing to do with factions, do not be led astray, don’t wish evil on your enemies, but heartily desire that good may happen and be done to them. You have only one judge, and he is in heaven. If the Authority, established by God (Rom. 13 [:1]), bears the sword in accordance with God’s bidding and command, you are physically under the protection of God. When that Authority does not bear the sword as it should, but rather protects wickedness, destroys godliness, loves the lie, and persecutes the truth, you must be content to admonish that Authority, which is God’s servant, to be converted and leave vengeance to God. No other sword or deterrence has Christ commanded his own to use. Whoever teaches the contrary is an Antichrist, liar, and deceiver (1 John 4 [:20], 2 John). He who looks for Christ elsewhere than under the cross in patience will not find him, no matter how many crucifixes and wooden hands there may be at the crossroads. The living cross and hand of Christ shows the way, does not stand immovable in one place, never has and never will, for it is itself the way from which the truth comes and is the truth from which life comes. This life comes from faith and faith gives birth to all virtue and the knowledge of Christ. For this life is eternal, that they know you, Father, the true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17 [:3]). The knowledge and teaching of Christ is not the life of the flesh, that distinct character which we bring with us, but rather a new birth from God. The heritage of flesh and blood cannot remain after the new birth has taken place; it must die and come to nothing, for the person who wishes to save the first life and all that belongs to it will lose it, and whoever loses it will keep it for eternal life (Matt. 16 [:25], 19 [:29]). It is not very complicated; one needs only to bend one’s back, freely offer it to the cross of Christ following our Lord Christ (Luke 9 [:23]), and faithfully bear that cross with gentleness, love, and patience as God’s lambs (Matt. 11 [:10:16]). This cross-bearing is the resistance to the enemies of Christ by which we easily win, not the earthly but the eternal victory (Rom. 8 [:37], 1 John 5 [:4]). For this reason Christ says: “Rejoice! I have overcome the world” (John 16 [:33]). Earthly victories are short-lived; someone stronger comes along and nullifies them, and himself rules. Therefore it is not the victory of Christ but of the defective flesh, and will also disappear with the flesh. Wherever the true Christ rules in doctrine and life, all fleshly control comes to an end.
Likewise, where the physical, fleshy rule is established, Christ’s rule is over. He is forced to leave the area and jurisdiction of the Gadarenes (Matt. 8 [:34]), because of the temporal loss [suffered by the owners of the pigs]. It was altogether an illegitimate business, and the loss should have been accepted for the sake of the salvation of the two men who were possessed by a legion of the Enemy through his manifold evil cunning. These two represent divine and fraternal love which have for a long time been seized and thwarted by Satan through selfish possessiveness. Now we see these two who caused such great injury, and from whom no one in the world even today is safe, liberated by Christ and following him. When the Gergasenes suffered a small loss of temporal property which should have been endured for the love of God and the neighbour, they asked Christ to leave immediately, for they preferred the injury of selfish possessiveness even though it seduces and torments the whole world, and through which the love of God and the neighbour is thwarted and possessed [by the devil]. Christ yields and departs, injustice takes over and love grows cold (Matt. 24 [:12]). Self-seeking and uncontrolled domination injure whoever passes such a place. How great is the injury caused by this self-seeking through its demon-inspired senseless ways which destroy the whole world! But they would rather tolerate it than the godly, loving Christ who liberates those who are caught in the devil’s power and injury. Woe to the blind Gergesenes, indeed to the whole world!
Satan seeks to mix temporal power with Christendom by making it attractive through his prophets. These say that the godly must be protected (even though by saying this they actually injure them). Who, they argue, would desire to be a ruler if his subjects did not help him to preserve his power in order to protect the godly from the ungodly? No one would be safe in such a world! Thus they prefer godly Christians to be magistrates rather than someone from the world, and persuade many upright hearts that they should render to the government their sworn duty to maintain justice with arms and defiance, and in the disguise of Christ, even though it is motivated by nothing but self-seeking.
I will certainly grant the point that all who claim to own something and desire protection for their property call on the government and complain that it is obligated to protect their temporal property and everyone else’s in temporal peace [are right to do so]. For governments and their subjects have their source in this generation preoccupied with its own self-centredness. The churches of Christ, however, do not have their birth in the self-centredness [of the flesh]; they come from Christ and are subject to him. Everyone is obligated to obey his own authority; the spiritual in spiritual peace, the carnal in carnal peace. The spiritual in Christ are committed to obedience to the Father in patience and love through the Word even as Christ, the Righteous One, became obedient unto death. The carnal are committed to preserving the power of the sword for punishment and vengeance against all wickedness, otherwise there would be no peace in temporal things as one can see everywhere. But it all flows from the goodness and mercy of God who knows all things and who desires only good for man and never evil. Even as God has offered peace to everyone, but not all have accepted it, likewise he has in his mercy also established and ordained divine Authority on earth to preserve temporal peace wherever the true peace of God, which is incompatible with self-seeking, is not accepted, in order that they don't destroy each other over their property. Neither good governments nor subjects are to blame for this, but those who are evil. God permits it all for the sake of the good to prevent the even worse situation of total destruction in temporal things. Because of this goodwill and love of God for everyone, all true Christians are, as God's children, obligated by love to obey and be subject to all temporal authority even to death, but to give to God what belongs to him (Matt. 22 [:21]). Wherever the word and honour of God is assailed they are to act against the Authority, remain faithful to God, and surrender bodily life in patience and love to the government as the Authority over the flesh but not over the Word and the Spirit. Likewise Peter was commanded by the Lord to pay the tax (Matt. 17 [:27]), for our peaceful God desires only peace for everyone both spiritually and physically.
These are the weapons and the knighthood of the true Christians as Paul writes in 2 Cor. 10 [:4-5] and signs of the faithfulness of the eternal God. Moses was given the sword to enforce the moral laws so that peace would be preserved among the children of wickedness. Likewise Joshua and David and others were appointed to administer the punishment of God upon the children of wickedness, but only to preserve temporal peace through which the fleshly Israel was held together in unity.
But the office (Amt) which Christ and his own have is different from that of Moses. They neither have nor desire the peace of the body which was necessary then, but rather the peace of Christ who admonished them to have peace with each other. "Peace I give to you; my peace
I leave with you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled" (John 14 [:27]). The world does not know this comfort of God's Spirit, which is why it knows nothing about the peace of the heart. This peace does not complain about temporal persecution, however cruel it may be. No one had this peace before Christ who first redeemed us into this peace. His bodily departure was necessary, otherwise the Comforter would not have come (John 16 [:7]), so that we may endure all temporal tribulation in this peace of the heart without objecting. These, and not the comfortless complainers who accuse each other before men, are the true Christians. Christ is their true judge and Lord, for he will judge the whole circle of the earth (Acts 17 [:31]). Christ thus has a greater commission than Moses (Heb. 3 [:3], 8 [:6], 2 Cor. 3 [:7-8]). Under it no one will be accused through the law, nor will anyone accuse anyone else through the law.
Whenever Moses accuses or judges by the law, Christ is of no use. Christ spoke to the Jews who did not believe in him concerning this point in John 5 [:45]: "Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope." Christ and his own are not accusers either in spiritual or in bodily matters; they are believing, loving, patient and gentle hearts. To such believers he says in John 8 [:31-32]: "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." This liberty of Christ is lord of all and all creatures serve her, although she does not rule but serve (1 Cor. 9 [:19-23], 10). For Christ the highest Lord did not come to dominate, coerce, condemn, nor rule. He will allow no one to be accused before him, and himself accuses no one. Rather, he was himself a servant, and allowed himself to be dominated, violated, accused, condemned, and cursed, and to suffer injustice.
That is our mirror in which we can see whether we have the stature of Christ or not. [If we acted like that] the strife about government would soon be laid by. It is argued that Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and David also had the Spirit of God, and even so bore the sword against the wicked, and that whoever had the Spirit of God also had the Spirit of Christ. That argument is the work of Satan who tries hard to confuse the making of distinctions in order to preserve his glory and kingdom. At that time, in the counsel of the faithful God who knew fallen humanity's tendency to strife, there could be no peace unless carnal fear kept them in check from Cain and Abel onwards (Gen. 4). The spiritual peace of Christ could not come until Christ had purchased it through his departure in the flesh. When he said “consummatum est," he brought all carnal rule to an end (John 10 [19:30]). He rules in his own through his Spirit alone also in temporal matters, and distinguishes the spirit of the accusing, vengeful Elijah from the Spirit he gave to his own. Through his Spirit they were born; through that Spirit they are still being born. When his disciples, who knew and felt this Spirit in themselves, wished to practice the vengeance of Elijah, he reminded them of the difference between Elijah's spirit and his own and said to them (Luke 9 [:55-56]): "You do not know what spirit you are of, for the Son of Man has not come to destroy the lives of human beings but to save them." Therefore his own, also, may never destroy anyone. Did this accusing, vengeful Elijah also have the Spirit of Christ (2 Kings 1 [:10])? If so, according to these prophets, Christ was wrong to forbid his disciples to exercise vengeance when they appealed to Elijah. (It is important to distinguish between the Spirit of God and of Christ in their functions in the different bodily and spiritual commissions given by God.)
Again, self-seeking decks itself out with the love of the neighbour and says: "Should I not aid my neighbour as I am obligated and am able when someone tries to destroy him? God commanded me not to abandon my neighbour when I see him in trouble, for should I not do as I expect to be done by (Matt. 7 [:12])?" Peter wanted to give such bodily help to the Lord Christ. But note what Christ did to him whom Peter, because of his natural love for Christ, attacked and injured. The Lord restored his body to health (Luke 22 [:51]). The Lord did not desire then, nor does he today, any help through which someone else is injured or hated. We are to love our greatest enemies and not hate them (Luke 6 [:27]), even though they assault us together or singly. There is one head and one body under Christ the head, and no separate members. If one member suffers, the other is obligated to suffer with it (l Cor. 12 [:26]). It is the body of patience and love. We may not injure anyone for love of someone else or we revoke our love for the enemy and so miss the way of Christ. We would simply have a carnal agreement such as is common in the world: if you help me, I will help you. However, coming to the aid of someone in need (whether I do it or any who receive Christ in truth) regardless of whether friend or foe, so long as it can be done without hurting anyone else, will not cease or be found wanting among true Christians. For the true love of Christ their master, and through his own words which were demonstrated by him in his love for his enemies even into death, they too will witness to their enemies even in death. Such is the true wholesome love of Christ which injures no one, neither friend nor foe. Christ has this spiritual covenant with his own by means of a free, willing spirit which Christ mediated from the Father to those who have faith in him. [He accomplished this] through the obedience of the Spirit. It was not available to and could not be done by flesh and blood or its agencies, nor by the coercion of governments or subjects. For even with Christ himself (Matt. 16 [26:41]), the flesh was weak but the Spirit was willing and obedient. Wherever carnal government intrudes into the kingdom of Christ, Christ has died in vain in obedience to the Father. He showed and demonstrated this obedience, which is only patience and love, in cross and tribulation towards friends and foes, but exercised no other dominion, coercion, or rule, however much our opponents try to prove it by Scripture, using it as they do for their own self-justification, Whoever will be the greatest should be the servant of all (Matt. 20 [:26]). [Wherever temporal and spiritual power are conferred] there will be only a carnal glory.
Those who contradict us accuse Christ and his own of opposing the Emperor and forbidding payment of taxes, refusing him obedience, saying government is not necessary, wanting to be our own lords, and appointing ourselves a king of the Jews and the like." Observe the cunning and the tricks which Satan and his own employ. Out of the surfeit of their own wickedness they accuse Christ and his own of that which they themselves do.
A question: Suppose someone from the world or the so-called Christians, old or new, who wishes to justify the use of the temporal sword with an appeal to Christ, achieves power, don't you suppose the whole lot would want to rule, and quarrel over who was to rule over them? Unless, of course, every individual would want to rule himself, so that no one else could exercise temporal rule over him because of his self-centredness. These people demand only protection and security." However, no one wants to endure the authority that goes with the protection, for Authority may deal justly or unjustly according to the destiny set by God, who determines the punishment that will be meted out. Thus Pilate, by his authority received from above, judged the innocent Christ (John 19 [:11]) and Christ endured it. Nor did Christ demand the protection from Pilate which Pilate was obligated to give as part of his authority. Christ did not demand nor desire it, for the lambs of God must be ruled over with violence until the end of the world. For this reason also Peter and Paul (Rom. 13 [:1], 1 Pet. 2 [:13]), counsel submission to all human temporal Authority, ready even to die under it. Both of them indicate the limits of that obedience. Christians will not rule or dominate anyone with force. Rather they suffer violence in obedience to God and to the praise of their leader Christ. To the question raised above the lambs now reply: Who are more obedient to government, those who want to be protected and not suffer any authority, or those who desire no protection and endure all violence in the love of God? O blind and perverted nature! You are reduced to silence in this judgement.
But this perverted lot do as they always do. They boast and claim for themselves the rule of Christ and his Spirit, but in fact crave for an authority other than that of Christ's spirit. They come appealing to Christ, but they want a king only to give them security and not to have authority over them. They want to do as the heathen do. Listen to what Samuel told the Jews (1 Sam. 8 [:11]) when they demanded a protector like the heathen had. He told them that such a king would also exercise authority over them as was his right. God said to Samuel that the people had not rejected Samuel but God himself and granted them the request that was their downfall. In a similar vein Christ said to his disciples: “You do not know what you are asking” (Matt. 20 [:22]). Then he offered them the chalice of his patient suffering. This is the sovereignty with which the Son of Man rules and reigns with his own through the Spirit.
In another place Jesus said to his disciples: “You know that among the Gentiles those who want to be regarded as rulers lord it over them, and the powerful are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; rather, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be servant of all” (Mark 10 [:42-44]). Whoever will not be admonished and disciplined in the education and correction of the Spirit is no Christian (Heb. 12 [:8]); he will be subject to the law (Gal. 3). The Word of the Lord is the only judge and sword of Christians (Eph. 6 [:17], Matt. 10 [:19-20]). True Christians will use no other judge nor sword, and whoever rejects this rejects not Christ but the Father who sent him (Matt. 10 [:32-33]). Remember that it was not Samuel who was rejected but God, and here we have much more than Samuel, Moses, patriarchs, and prophets (Matt. 12 [:42]). They are rejecting the Son and not the servant [Mark 12:32-33]. If they have treated the servants with such disrespect, how much more will they do it to the Son? The so-called Christians get their due according to their desires when God gives them rulers aplenty who will administer the king's justice. For according to the words of Christ, they demanded rulers such as the heathen have, and these will zealously impose their rule with violence. Christ reduced the heathen and Jewish law into a single law. According to Eph. 2 [:14] he broke down the middle wall of partition and put all heathen and Jewish laws together. For both Jewish and Gentile laws govern carnal man. But they do not govern the spiritual Christ, for whoever does not have the spirit of Christ does not belong to him (Rom. 8 [:91]). Those who are liberated from these laws become subject to Christ. It is a new birth from flesh and death to spirit and life (1 John 3, 4, 5). This spiritual life is nothing but love and patience; neither Moses nor heathen but only Christians will be found there. Outside of Christ neither the law of the Jews nor of the heathen (who are their own law according to Rom. 2 [:14]) promote life; they are simply a bridle for the wickedness of carnal ignorance. No matter how upright the flesh may be without the Spirit it has to be bridled. We know that some animals are more compliant than others - the difference, for example, between horses and donkeys. Still, they all need to be bridled (Ps. 32 [:9]). This bridle is not Christ but the dead letter of the law and human commandments (Gal. 3 [:23-25]). For quite outside the fear of the law, the Spirit of Christ gives life. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear but you have received a spirit of adoption through which we cry, ‘Abba, pater.’ Thus we are children and heirs if, in fact, we suffer with him” (Rom. 8 [:14-17]). Notice that he does not say "rule with him." Neither Christ nor his own ever reprove anyone on the basis of the law either Jewish or heathen, but only through the Word of the Father which is Christ. Whoever does not have Christ also does not live according to the Word, and there is nothing but flesh without spirit. Those who have Christ have the Word as a reliable ruler in the heart and no other is necessary, as Paul says in Col. 1 [:27-28]. Those who reprove by means other than the Word, which is Christ (John 1 [:1-2], 8 [:32-42]), are rulers of darkness. He admonished those who had entered the kingdom of the Word [Col. 1:12-13] which is the Son, the light of the world, who enlightens all people (John 1 [:9]) to be grateful.
From now on, for those who are outside of Christ the laws of the Jews and of the heathen are a single reality. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek but one living creation in God (Gal. 3 [:28], 5 [:6], 6 [:15]). Regardless of this, the so-called evangelical Christians reject imperial law under the appearance of godliness to disguise their fleshly ambition and for the securing of their property, position, and reputation? They judge according to the law of Moses and pollute the Lord Jesus Christ with blood? Outside of Christ the laws of Jews and Gentiles are one single law. Thus, no matter how much they oppose the law of the Emperor, their false pretension will not help them, for Christ is the end of the law for the justification of everyone who has faith (Rom. 10 [:4]). Similarly, Paul writes the Corinthians (1 Cor. 6 [:1-8]) that they have failed Christ because they demanded temporal rights, and that from unbelievers. Is there no wisdom of Christ among you, Paul continues, by which one could admonish the other in patience and love? And even if the least of all the members of the church [Eph. 3:8], urges you to the patience and love of Christ (if indeed you were brethren of love and peace) and to judge your own cases, you still insist on doing it before unbelievers. For the brotherhood of Christ is patience and love, does not have nor desires to have either Authority or subjects, but is one in Christ. For where there is no Authority there can also be no subject.
Still, the true Christians are subject to all creatures for the sake of God and Christ .16 He has come who was to precede Christ, and at that time the life of the flesh had to be sustained through the fear of the law without the living power of Christ and his Spirit until the time of Christ (Gal. 3 [:24]). Until then the sceptre and the dominion remained with the tribe of Judah from whom Christ was descended after the flesh (Rom. 1 [:3], 9 [:53], Rev. 5 [:5], Heb. 7 [:14]). That is the meaning of the words of the patriarch Jacob to his son Judah (Gen. 49 [:10]): "Neither the sceptre nor the ruler's staff from between his feet shall depart from his seed until the appointed one comes to whom the people will give their obedience." These words of Jacob also imply that at the coming of Christ the sceptre would be taken away from the fleshly people of God and they would be thrown out among the Gentiles to be the swineherds of the empire. For all earthly sovereignties and imperiums are only the destructive work of wild boars before God's countenance, because they destroy the vineyard of God (Ps. 80 [:7-13]). All the sovereigns, protectors, and rulers are only swineherds in contrast to the sovereignty of Christ which now rules in his own, for outside of Christ there is absolutely no faith regardless of whether one be Jew, Gentile, or so-called Christian (John 15 [:5], 2 John 1, 3, John 1 [:17]). He who does not submit to be admonished and disciplined through the fear of the word of Christ is no Christian. Whoever seeks to admonish and discipline by means other than the gentle and humble word of Christ (which alone is patience and love), such as with the law of God through the letter and the external sword, as the so-called Christians do, that one too is no Christian. To Christ has been given authority over all flesh (Matt. 28 [:18]) in order that he may bring that flesh into complete fear and discipline through his Spirit (Rom. 8 [:9-11]). Christ does not kill but bring to life (John 6 [:40], 2 Cor. 3 [:6]), and no one may take the sword of Moses, the man of God, because Moses himself surrendered it at his departure and, pointing to Christ, said: A man will arise from among your brothers; listen to him (Deut. 18 [:15]). Christ himself witnessed and said: “If you believed Moses, you would believe in me, for he wrote about me” (John 5 [:46]). Salvation comes from the Jews (John 4 [:22]). Since Christ came Moses is no longer authoritative, for he had only the sword of the law but not of the Spirit. To Christ we must listen, through the Word, which is a double-edged sword to distinguish good from evil (Heb. 4 [:12]). This evil belongs to the sword of the wicked and wicked rulers who, expressing their own carnal mentality, preserve carnal peace with each other for the sake of property and position. Christ cannot be reconciled with Belial (2 Cor. 6 [:15]). The peace of Christ is different. It brings unrest without any injury to whomever possesses it because of the flesh and [what remains] of self-centredness, and peace to friends and foes. This is the peace of Christ about which Christ says that he gives it not as the world gives, for the world treasures peace only for the securing of property and position. If it is injured in any way, there is nothing but turmoil.
The early Christians to the time of Constantine exercised no temporal rule or sword among themselves. The command of their master did not allow it. He granted them only the sword of the Word. Whoever, after sufficient admonition would not listen, was regarded as a Gentile and unbeliever [Matt. 18:17]. But when at that time, the pope, as a servant of the church was married to Leviathan, that is, temporal power, but in the disguise of Christ, the Antichrist was conceived and born as has now been revealed. The mystery of iniquity was long concealed (2 Thess. 2 [:3ff.]). For a very long time she fortified herself with Scripture under a guise of godliness until the wickedness of the apparently holy clergy was exposed, which is also now the case with the new Antichrist. They are false shepherds to whom the sheep do not belong; they enter through the roof and come only to devour, plunder, and kill (John 10 [:10]). The spiritual devil and his multitude, a murderer from the beginning (John 8 [:44])), entered the sheepfold with violence and stole and wrested the sword from the secular Authority. No heathen tyrant ever murdered and killed so thoroughly. The most horrible monster, turning even against its own kind, tramples, crushes, and ravages with its feet what it does not eat and devastates it with the counterfeit ban [Eze. 34:17-191. Thus the abominable wickedness reveals itself. Some true sons of Pilate still ask whether Christ is a king. When, in the attempt to save Jesus from the false Jews, that is, from those who falsely confess faith in God, and who even today still hand Jesus over [to the executioner], they are told in Christ's words that his kingdom is not of this world (John 18 [:36]), they say that they want no king whose kingdom is not of this world but an emperor whose kingdom is of this world. They are consistent: since they are children of this world and not of God, they must needs be ruled by those cosmic authorities who fight against Christ (Eph. 6 [:12]). They don't want to be ruled by Christ for he is, in their view, a preposterous king. When the people wanted to make a temporal king of Jesus to ensure the temporal food they had received from him, he left them and fled (John 6 [:15]). Everyone should completely depart from these prophets who betroth the patient, loving Christ to the secular Authority under the pretence that it is spiritual, to ensure that a new Antichrist is born or fashioned. I hope that the Lord will prevent his own from becoming wild boars and swineherds who destroy the vineyard (Ps. 79 [:1], 80 [:13]), but will instead be preserved as sheep and shepherds who tend the vineyard, do not graze it bare, and that Christ remains our arch-shepherd now and forever. Amen.
Lastly and to conclude, I remind all who mix the kingdom of Christ with the secular Authority, and who now propose to judge between the good and the evil or wish to pull up [the weeds] by means other than the Spirit of God, of the parable and judgement of Christ (Matt. 13 [:24-30]): “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but when everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. Then the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and pull out the weeds?’ But he replied, ‘No, certainly not; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
Listen to Christ’s interpretation of the parable when the disciples asked him about its meaning, and let these nay-sayers themselves judge whether Christ committed the sword of secular Authority to his own, or whether he commanded them to gather in the weeds before the End of the world. Jesus answered his disciples: “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!” [Matt. 13:37-431.
Our opponents should take note of what the Lord Christ says to his servants to whom it is given only to judge that which is external and at the present time but never that which is internal and eternal. For he is the saviour for everyone's salvation and not their destroyer (up to the time of the final irreversible judgement after which the time for repentance is over). Christ told this parable only to ensure that the grace of God would not be cut off for human beings and that the wheat would not be pulled out with the weeds. For as long as a person remains in this mortal life, no matter how wicked he may be, he may be converted to a better life through the grace of Christ and the patience and love shown to him by those around him. For there are twelve hours in the day as the Lord himself said (John 11 [:9]) [during which a man may be converted], but if he is pulled up like a weed, he can never repent. For this reason Christ, who is patient and humble, commands his disciples (John 13 [:12-15], Matt. 11 [:29]) to learn from him and to wait faithfully for the erring one during the time of his life. He also instructs his own by the foregoing parable to wait. He commands no one to condemn and kill with the sword. Virtually the whole of Matt. chapter 5 testifies that no one is to be coerced or dominated. Rather, the disciples allow themselves to be forced and dominated and to submit to what is done to them with patience. Those who do the opposite are of the world and are not Christ’s, are unbelievers and do not have faith. Those who fight with the sword will be condemned by the sword (Rev. 13 [:10], Matt. 16 [:25]). Hence all those who came into the world since Christ, who is the sharp sword of the Word, and have not believed will destroy and devour each other with the sword (Luke 21 [:24]). Whoever does not believe is condemned already (John 3 [:18]). Further, the Lord said to those who wanted to follow him that they should let the dead bury their dead (Matt. 8 [:22]). There is no godliness outside of Christ. The ‘godliness’ of the flesh and of evildoers is nothing but wickedness and uncleanness. In Christ, through faith, the only sword is the Word; with this only Christians judge and are judged. They have not been commanded by Christ to use any other sword. Christians should avoid and separate themselves from all who don’t believe this, until they are converted. Those who come to believe it should be received in patience and love. This is the true judgement of Christians in this time, and Christ has neither committed to them nor commanded them any other judgement.
The true Christians will use this purity in the liberty of the Spirit in which they remain pure and in which all things are pure for them [Luke 11:41; John 13: 10-11]. Nothing is pure outside that which serves love in the hopeful confidence of faith and is expressed in gentleness, patience, and humility, regardless of how fervently Satan preens himself with Paul’s words in Titus 1 [:15]: “To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure.” Whatever Christ has named or commanded is what comprises “all things” in Christ. These are faith, love, hope, patience, gentleness, humility, purity of heart, thoughtfulness. These and all other virtues and knowledge are pure only through faith, which is purity itself. Outside of faith all virtues and knowledge, regardless of how prized they may be, are in and of themselves impure and an abomination before the face of God. Many upright heathen are known to us. They indeed had great discipline, virtue, and knowledge, but to them it was all impure before the face of God because of their unbelief. Everything would be impure if one did not have faith in Christ, even if one did the works of angels, apostles, even of Christ himself. It is thus that Paul came to the view that all virtues outside of faith in Christ are impure and all of them are pure because of faith. [But] Paul’s words may never be taken to mean that one may take anything outside of what Christ commanded and employ it and preen oneself with the liberty of Christ, as Satan does. True Christians will never take the liberty to exercise coercion and Authority, regardless of how wicked or upright those to be ruled might be. Rather they will allow themselves to be dominated, ruled over, and violated in patience and love to the end of time. Let us continue to be servants as our Master and Christ served and allowed himself to be ruled over and violated. Christ came not to be served, not to rule in the world according to the flesh.
We don’t need to be concerned about governmental Authority. There will always be those who want to rule. Let us see to it that we remain Christians, live patiently, and accept the victory of the Lamb to the glory of our Father and of his Christ. To him alone belongs all the glory, power, majesty, praise and honour now and to eternity. Amen.
I am surprised that Christ and the apostles, and especially Saint Peter, did not elect a ruler to rule over all those whom he converted to Christ and who believed, as we read in Acts chapter 2. The Spirit of God was not wise enough at that time for these prophets who are rightly called the “new” evangelicals. God have mercy on them. Why did God not allow the tribe of Levi a portion of the promised land nor any external authority to rule (Deut. 18 [:1-2], Josh. 14 [:3])? How much less would he give it to the spiritual and royal priests of Christ so ordained, forever under the order of Melchisedek, and under which all flesh and all its authorities must come to nothing. (What the figurative meaning of this priesthood in Christ and attributed to us is, can be learned from Paul in Hebrews, chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10.) Christ himself says in Luke 9 [:58] that the Son of Man has no place where he can lay his head.
The first council of the Holy Spirit was established by the Apostles. Its decision was written and carried to Antioch by Judas and Silas, who also [delivered it] verbally. It pleased the Holy Spirit and the Apostles not to lay any legal burdens on the churches except for the three most necessary provisions. These were that they abstain from what was offered to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from fornication. If they kept these, all would be well (Acts 15 [:22-29]). This text, read and understood literally, would only be more Jewish legalism rather than liberty, were it not that a particular mystery is hidden under the words and kept concealed until our time. In fact it was the Spirit of God speaking through the Apostles concerning the future time which would come. It has all now been revealed; the sacrifice to idols of the pope and the Antichrist is far more idolatrous and abominable before the face of God than all the idol sacrifices of the heathen. For Paul says in 1 Cor. 10 [:27] that if he were not told that it was offered to idols, he would eat it. However, if he were told that it had been offered to idols, he would not eat. Thus the pope's idolatry is not simply a sacrifice to idols but the idol itself. The Antichrist and those who run with him are now urging all of us to eat. That is why the Spirit of God calls it a necessary thing and something to be avoided.
Second, concerning blood and what was strangled, the Holy Spirit did not mean to repeat the law of Moses, but rather referred to the words in Ps. 16 [:4]: “their drink-offerings of blood I will not pour out.” This, too, has been revealed in this last time. At the point at which the temporal power mixed itself into the kingdom of Christ, as shown above, the eating of blood by those who pretended to be Christians began as they killed people. Today the Holy Spirit forbids this and warns us to refrain from what is strangled. It is the source of all shedding of blood, namely the self-serving, wealth, and glory of the world. The Lord Christ also refers to what is strangled in Matt. 13 [:7]. It is the seed that fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it bore no fruit. This strangled word is completely in the power of the Antichrist's kingdom and virtually all people eat of it, ignoring the faithful warning of the Holy Spirit. May God preserve his own.
Third, the fornication mentioned is not only the physical fornication which is the fruit of spiritual fornication, but of that whore with whom all the kings of the earth and all the people with them have fornicated and still do as is evident. It is needful that as the children of God we should prepare and protect ourselves against all this. If we do it we do right. Farewell in the comfort of the Spirit.