Rothbardian Christian Anarchist Postmillennialism

March 23, 2007 at 11:30 am | Posted in Anarchism, Religion | 8 Comments

Bill Barnwell has a good critique of militarist premillennialism that expands on an excellent one by Gary North. I am personally somewhat a postmillennialist. “Somewhat” because I don’t find the issue dogmatically important, and ironically because my understanding of it could be partly called secular postmillenialism like Rothbard identified Marxism and other Social Gospel beliefs.So why hold such a belief when it has been identified with the American elitist Puritans and their secular followers from Harvard, Yale, etc. and even with Marxism? I believe the answer lies in 1 Samuel 8.

A quick explanation, postmillennialism believes that Christ will return after a period (at least metaphorically 1000 years) of success by Christians in bringing about the spread of Christianity and peace where Christ reigns on earth without physically being here. As a Jehovah’s Witness coworker asked, “How could Jesus reign for 1000 years without first coming back to earth for that reign?” Ah, that’s the key question, and 1 Samuel 8 is the key answer. According to that passage, God reigned on earth until his reign was rejected by creating a centralized nation-state. So God can again reign on earth without Jesus having to be here physically, and that can be accomplished by eliminating nation-states and empires.

In my religious perspective, we might say that God was rejected as king even by his own people from 1 Samuel 8 until the Reformation and the rejection of the Pope as king of the church-state. More accurately, this wasn’t complete because the Reformation still accepted centralized states just as Israel did not return to God by separating into Northern and Southern Kingdoms. The Anabaptists were first, at least among groups still in existence, in the Western World to reject the nation-state as a societal system, But they have been persecuted ever since, and just yesterday I read of Mennonites having to leave Missouri because of laws that would require them to violate their beliefs. Another characteristic of the beginning of the millennium is that Christians will be able to live and practice freely, and not the fake Christianity that lives in symbiosis with the nation-state. They rarely get persecuted because they are the persecutors. No one should feel sympathy when one dynasty replaces another and these pseudo-Christians are punished.

Unlike some Presbyterian postmillennialists, I’m not assuming that the world will be almost entirely Christian. My opinion is that the only requirement for the millennium will be an almost entirely anarchist world. In this sense, even atheists, if at least morally anarchists, have God as their king. Don’t read too much into that, as I don’t intend or try to find a deeper meaning in it. I expect that Christian judges will be respected throughout the world for fair judgement and possibly be sought after even by non-Christians, and Christians will not need to find judges outside the church to obtain justice. This is the opposite of the world of today.

Postmillennialism implies that we have a part in changing the world, and can eventually be successful in making a long lasting utopia like world, even if it won’t last forever. If postmillennialism implies a near utopia where God reigns without being present on earth, why did the secularized Puritans who control the USA think that a centralized nation state was the proper means to get to this utopia?

I think they got caught up on the idea of utopia more than the morals required to create it. Blinded by the power they had already attained, they justified using violence (the nation-state) to try to force people to be like they thought they should in utopia. Ironic that people call anarchism utopian when it is the nation-states that try to mold people as if they were God.

Statism did not begin with 1 Samuel 8. That was just when Israel adopted it. In the Bible, the creator of the first state is Nimrod in Genesis 10. (The beginning of his state was Babel. Babel is the same Hebrew word as Babylon, and is the symbol of the enemy of the people of God from Genesis 10 to Revelation 19.) We might say that these mistakes must be reversed out in reverse order. First, the people of God must eliminate support for the nation-state from our churches. Only then can we work on removing the state, the dynasty of Nimrod from the world to try to start a Biblical millennium of Revelation 20.

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8 Comments »

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  1. Interesting, but bad exegesis of scripture. I doubt very seriously that the writers of I Samuel or Genesis had ever thought about the possibility of a millenium at all. The text can mean today what the text didn’t mean back then.

  2. Sorry, that should have been “the text can’t mean today what the text didn’t mean back then.”

  3. Even if I grant “the text can’t mean today what the text didn’t mean back then,” that doesn’t necessitate that it didn’t imply back then more than the original writers might have realized. In fact, I’m sure that all the Old Testament writers didn’t mean things that New Testament writers quoted them to defend.

    That’s the nature of ideas and natural truths. They can be fairly applied to cases the original discoverers never thought about. There are just too many possibilities for them to recognize all valid applications of their concepts.

  4. But it is reasonable to assume that a prophetic text, such as Isaiah quoted by the gospel writers, was fulfilled in the person of Jesus. It is not reasonable to assume that a book of history, such I Samuel, has anything to do with millenial theology.

    Douglas Moo, in a teaching on millenial viewpoints, notes that any stance that one takes on “the millenium” should be a “weak-kneed” approach as the millenium is mentioned only in Revelation 20.1-6. It is dangerous to then read these six verses into other portions of scripture or use them as THE hermeneutic for reading the remainder of the Biblical text.

    I Samuel has nothing to do with post-millenialism, pre-millenialism or classic a-millenialism. It’s not a prophetic book. It’s history.

  5. One other thought. I am in total agreement that Biblical texts can be applied to situations today. These applications, however, must be made with a keen eye given to what the texts orginally meant to the communities for whom they were written. If we do not operate with such a hermeneutic then we really can make scripture say whatever we want it to say and make historical books of the Old Testament somehow reflect our own interpretations of New Testament apocalyptic literature. I have no gripes with anyone being a post-millenialist, pre-millenialist or a-millenialist. I am simply saying that if you choose to stand on any of these it is best to do so without citing I Samuel as evidence for them and taking any of those stands too rigidly. Afterall, if God struck Revelation 20.1-6 from the canon tomorrow, it would not also remove any doctrines that are tantamount to the reading of the remainder of scripture.

  6. Greetings. I think it is an interesting point that 1 Samuel 8 demonstrates that Christ can rule without being physically present, just as God ruled in the days of the Judges without being physically present. Good food for thought, and supportive of postmillennialism though it does not prove it.

    Full disclosure: I have been accused of postmillennialism and can not plead innocent.

  7. j4jesus, let me clarify:

    I’m not trying to read the millennium into a bunch of other passages, it’s the opposite way around. I think that 1 Sam. 8 and Gen. 10 provide moral and political truths, and that is my fundamental lesson. Now accepting those, I notice that they just happen to help explain a major legitimate question asked by premillennialists to postmillennialists about how Christ reigns in the millennium.

    The major virtue of post-mill, in my opinion, is that it implies we have to be out there doing good and preparing for the long-haul, where pre-mills see immanent doom around the corner that we can’t stop and so have no use preparing for a long off future.

  8. As you might imagine, as a “weak-kneed” premillienialist, I have to agree with you on your last points!


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