NB: lots of Christian stuff in this post, but there will be a tie-in to the role that I see Christianity playing in moving toward liberty. Trust me.
The Christian Stuff
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Sunday is the day of Pentecost; for the Eastern Orthodox, it is next Sunday. While the Resurrection was necessary for salvation, Pentecost was necessary to change the disciples into fearless men.
For the most part, the Gospels offer a picture of confused disciples. Confused about the role Jesus is playing in this drama. The world in which they lived was certainly expecting a Messiah; he would be the one who would re-establish Israel’s kingdom on earth. There were revolts as recently as a century or two before, known as the Maccabean Revolt. This was an uprising against the Greeks; Antiochus IV issued his decrees forbidding Jewish religious practice.
The prophets anticipated a Messiah, and many Jews understood him to be the leader of revolution. Much of the disciples’ confusion can be better understood if read with this view.
Peter was warned that he would deny Jesus before the sunrise. Peter was certain he would not. Mentally, we immediately move forward in the story to the denial, but in between, Peter cuts off the ear of the guard coming to take Jesus captive. Peter was ready for revolution, not sacrifice.
It was only when this revolutionary act by Peter didn’t result in revolution that he then became fearful – and denied knowing Jesus.
Let’s skip over the trial, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Now those who followed Jesus would be targets – they were also revolutionaries, associated with “The King of the Jews.” Their leader, though they saw him again, wasn’t leading them the way they thought. Then He was gone, in the clouds. Alone, did they fear their fate?
Until Pentecost. Immediately after, Peter preached the Resurrection without fear. Three thousand were added to their number.
There is no salvation without the Resurrection. There is no Christianity without Pentecost.
The Liberty Stuff
Ephesians 6: 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
I have written dozens of posts of debunking historical narratives. One can label this as conspiracy thinking on my part. So be it. The history of the world is almost a continuous river of this reality. Just since the beginning of the Progressive Era, we have:
· A two-party system
· Remember the Maine
· Make the world safe for democracy
· Central banks can smooth out the business cycle
· We were minding our own business when the Japanese bombed us for no good reason
· We had to drop those two bombs, else a million Americans would die
· The single bullet
· Gulf of Tonkin
· Stabbing babies in incubators
· Three building with two planes (and a dozen other problems with this story)
· Weapons of Mass Destruction
· Irrational exuberance
Take a look at the list. Each one of these was used to diminish liberty; none of these were used to advance liberty. These are the fruits of the rulers of the darkness of this world. Call it a conspiracy theory. It is bigger than most can imagine. Could you have ever imagined the panic that took control over all of society a couple of months ago for fear of a bug? Is this really all the doing of two-legged men? Of Gates and Fauci? Or does the never-ending list suggest something much deeper?
The apostles were only able to confront these rulers of the darkness after Pentecost – after receiving the Holy Spirit.
It is here where, institutionally, Christianity must fight. Elsewhere in Ephesians, we are told to put on the armour of God. The armour is of no use if we don’t understand that against which we are fighting. Why put on armour if we aren’t to fight?
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience
This understanding begins by recognizing those who perpetrate these acts designed to convince us to worship Baal. This understanding begins by recognizing those who are the tools of the prince of the power of the air. It begins by recognizing that the conspiracy runs much deeper and longer than humanly possible. It begins by understanding that this conspiracy is designed to rob you of your liberty – in this life and (for those of us who believe such things) the next.
The apostles spoke truth to power after receiving the Holy Spirit. Christians today must do no less.
The last couple of months have been tremendously disappointing, given how I see the path forward. How quickly Christian leaders have succumbed. From such as these I expect cultural revolution?
Well, this is what I have. And, perhaps, out of this might come a smaller, yet more committed and more focused, body of Christ.