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Christ Versus Satan

By R. J. Rushdoony
May 01, 2003

The battle of time has been between Christ and Satan. However determined the battle, the victory is assured, a predestined one recounted in the Bible. But neither Satan nor his followers believe in predestination by the sovereign and triune God, and therefore plan on and work towards victory.

Battle Strategy
Both sides have their strategy and their characteristic forms. Satan's realm takes the form of the City or Kingdom of Man, the concentration of all power and authority is in the hands of the creature, who is the determiner of all things. The Tower of Babel is a key example of this. In Genesis 11:3, we are told that the builders said, "Go to, let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven." The purpose of the Tower of Babel was to rival heaven, to exalt the glory of man, and to defy God to dare to rival their tower, a world center of government. The symbols of the Tower of Babel continue to this day. A poster of the European Community echoes it, and it is said that someone has written across it, "This time we will make it work."

As against this City-or-Kingdom-of-Man dream, from the Tower of Babel to the present, the other goal has been the Kingdom of God. This is an eternal kingdom without end, inclusive of all things in heaven and earth. Its government is under the headship of Jesus Christ; its law is the law of God and of this kingdom there shall be no end. Jesus Christ is King over all, King of all kings, and Lord over all lords (1 Tim. 6:15-16).

Satan's plan as set forth in Genesis 11:1-9 is "a tower whose top may reach unto heaven," i.e., challenging God's supremacy in the name of the creature. Both in inventions and into space exploration, the Kingdom of Man challenges the supremacy of God in the name of the creature.

Names in the Bible are definitions, and Satan, as the pretended angel of light, challenges God as the true light-giver. The sovereign God, who is beyond definition, creates light in Genesis 1:3, and in John 1:5, we are told, "And the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not," i.e., could neither understand nor contain it.

Perhaps the characteristic institution of the Kingdom of Man is the state. Now the goal of the non-Christian state is the control of man. Politics is the art of controlling other people, whereas Christianity seeks to convert them. When Christians fall into the error of seeking to control others, they have abandoned Christ for Satan. It can readily be seen that the Kindgom of Man is radically dedicated to controlling people. Its answer is to deprive of freedom, freedom to smoke or drink, freedom to govern their own lives, and so on and on.

Tyrants
The two kingdoms have salvation as their goals, but from differing perspectives, one from compulsion, the other from conversion or regeneration. We lose freedom as the Kingdom of Man prevails; its laws and regulations have no end, whereas the extent of God's law is only a few hundred, many of which are only enforceable by God. It is man who is the author of tyranny. Tyrants are rulers without God.

This is why antinomianism has always been so deadly. It frees man from the restraints of God's law to release him into the boundless numbers of man-made laws which can bind and limit man's freedom in any and every sphere. Man's law is a guideline into tyranny, whereas God's law is our charter of liberty.

God's law is the prescription for justice — man's law, for tyranny. All human lawmakers have an axe to grind, an agenda in mind, and man is the victim.

Moreover, the essence of God's law is its moral character. It provides an order and stability to society. Statist law leaves behind, in time, the moral nature of law to promote regulations for the benefit of some men and parts of society at the expense of others.

The laws of the two societies have differing goals. The Kingdom of Man seeks equality, fraternity, and brotherhood, among other things, goals which sound impressive in themselves but which in reality are not particularly moral. In the Kingdom of God, the laws are more precise and specific. For example, the law governing just weights and just measures is precise and specific; it covers weights, measures, moneys, and more. It establishes a premise for honesty in several fields of measurement, and it ensures to those who follow it a viable standard. The influence of this law (Dt. 25:14-16, etc.) has been felt in the United States into the early 20th century, in that gold was coined in terms of very strict measurements, the $20 double eagle being one ounce, 90% gold, and all smaller coins a fraction of an ounce with a similar ratio of gold.

All laws are the will of the sovereign power for the government of his people. Thus God's laws govern man, a human king's laws govern his people, and a republic's laws govern its citizenry. The question we need always to raise is this: Whose people are we? If we are no more than the creatures of a state, then we must obey the laws of the state. If we are God's creation, we will obey His laws.

This presents us with a problem. We are both as Christians, members of God's kingdom and of Satan's. We must extricate ourselves from the latter, not by revolution, revolt, or disobedience, but by faithful adherence to the laws of God and the laws of man. Thus, we pay our tithes and gifts to the Lord, but also our due assessments to our country's internal revenue service. As we build up God's tithe agencies, we gradually undermine and erode the nation's alien towers of Babel.

We must be constructive. Much of what constitutes missionary actions today is actually the creation and propagation of Christian governmental organizations. We are currently engaged in rebuilding many areas of the world, as witness the work of many fine men and organizations. Every Christian and his home is a part of this extension of Christ's kingdom.

This is our task. There is a great battle underway.


Topics: Biblical Law, Statism

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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