Sunday, November 9, 2008


Thus far, from the Garden of Eden to the end of the book of Genesis, God has not commanded human beings to form "the State." Some commentators differ, of course, seeing the formation of the State in some incipient form in Genesis 9, or elsewhere. Certainly God hasn't yet commanded an institution as socially pervasive as the modern Leviathan State. Other commentators, who disagree with our "anarchist" theories, still agree that "the State" does not enter Israel until after the Judges (in 1 Samuel 8).

In this next section we look at history from Moses to the Judges.

Under Moses the Levitical Priesthood came into being. Many verses pertaining to this priesthood have been erroneously applied to justify the existence of the State, as well as to buttress the power of modern priests and ecclesiastical institutions -- centuries after Christ ended the Levitical priesthood.

The existence of “elders” pre-dates Sinai, and have been carried over in Christian times into the ecclesiastical institutions we call “churches” (not the political institution we call "the State").

Although God commanded Moses to form an ecclesiastical institution, God did not command Moses to establish a “political” institution.

The ecclesiastical (sacerdotal) institution established at the hand of Moses was not to have perpetual existence.

That leaves "Patriarchy." We will argue that Moses revealed a remedial system which was designed to restore fully-functioning families ("Patriarchy") who functioned as priests and kings in a priesthood of all believer-kings (Exodus 19:6; 1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:10).

John Frame writes:

Was there, at this point in history, also a divinely appointed "state?" I would say no if, again, "state" refers to something above and beyond the natural authority of the family. As far back as Gen. 9, as we have seen, God called the family to execute vengeance for bloodshed, and so no new order was needed to administer capital punishment. [17] There was, of course, in Moses' time, a national army to be commanded, but even that has its precedents in tradition (Gen. 14). [18] New machinery, of course, was put in place (by some combination of tribal tradition and Mosaic appointment) to resolve disputes, but that too was essentially a family function.

Moses himself should not be seen as the occupant of a new "perpetual office" in Israel. He was a "charismatic" official, one with a direct appointment from God. Joshua did succeed Moses and inherited Moses' powers; but Joshua, also, was directly appointed by God (Num. 27:18-23, Deut. 31:1-8, Josh. 1:1-9), and no one after him had such comprehensive authority over the nation. Apart from his prophetic and priestly functions, Moses was essentially the chief of the clan leaders, the head of the family of God. Had God not selected him directly, the people might well have selected him or someone else as a chief of chiefs, without violating the overall family structure. Such a choice would merely have been a natural continuation of the movement toward greater complexity as the nation increased in size. Indeed, there was popular ratification of Moses' rule. When Moses returned to Egypt from the desert, the elders "believed," indeed "bowed down and worshipped," Ex. 4:31. And after God, from Mount Sinai, appeared to the whole people, the people requested through their elders that God not again speak to them directly, but that Moses serve as mediator (Exod. 20:19, Deut. 5:5, 23-33, 18:16).

During the period of the judges, no new institutions were added. God raised up judges, new charismatic leaders, to deliver Israel from its enemies (Judges 2:16). These judges were not only military leaders, but they had broad authority to command obedience within Israel (Judges 2:17).
[19] One of them, Deborah, was also a prophet (Judges 4:4), as was, of course, Samuel (I Sam. 3:19-21). Samuel, though an Ephaimite rather than a Levite (at least on his father's side, I Sam. 1:1), exercised priestly functions (probably implied in I Sam. 2:35f; cf. 3:1, 7:9, 17, 10:8), recalling the unity of prophet, priest and king in the patriarchs and Moses, and foreshadowing Christ. Again, however, this charismatic leadership did not produce any new, continuing institution in Israel. Government by tribal elders continued as during the time of Moses. Indeed, in the case of Jephthah, the judge receives his authority, humanly speaking, by the appointment of the elders (Judges 11:1-11). Under Samuel, the elders continued to command armies (I Sam. 4:3) and to determine such courses of action as the recovery of the sacred ark (4:3).

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