I think I will post another, uh, post, in answer to my anonymous antagonist. (see comments on last post below)
I do not think most Christians today appreciate the political nature of the first century church. When the authors of the New Testament used the words "ekklesia", "evangelion", "Christos", they were making highly treasonous claims against the Roman Empire, and all human governments thereafter. Christians were persecuted not because they touted a certain religion. Religions were all tolerated in the Empire. It was because they preached a King other than Caesar. King Jesus and Caesar claimed the same space.
But the two kingdoms did not operate on the same wavelength. The apostles were careful to instruct the early Christians not to rebel against Rome with the sword. They were to follow Jesus' example of submission to the authorities, for it was God who put those authorities in place. Jesus said as much to Pilate during his trial. Evil was overcome by way of the cross, in humble submission to the will of God, obeying to the point of death. "Therefore God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name...."
And here is the paradox. Rome was evil, but God ordained it and allowed it dominion for a time. He used it to punish other evildoers, particularly the Jews who were oppressing the early Christians. So it worked out for their good. Then Rome fell, and another empire arose, then another, then another. At the present time, the world appears to be under the dominion of the American/Western empire. It, too, will fall when God is finished with it.
The Present Application:
The message is still clear for Christians today- submit and wait for the Lord to recompense the enemy and deliver his people from oppression. This is our duty as citizens of his everlasting kingdom.
God has his ministers of wrath- them. And his ministers of reconciliation-us. So it's them, and its us. The two priesthoods are immiscible. That is why we should not participate in their wars, their political elections or their policing systems, and that is why I am a pacifist.
Becoming a Christian
3 hours ago