Jesus Is an Anarchist
Slaves Obey Your Masters?
While although not
directly related to the issue of the ethical status of government per se,
some individuals have asserted that certain statements in the New
Testament by Paul and Peter condone the institution of slavery, and for
this reason it is important as it concerns social relations in general.
Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the
flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not
with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the
will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord,
and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive
the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. And you, masters,
do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own
Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not
with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance;
for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for
what he has done, and there is no partiality. Masters, give your
bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in
1 Timothy 6:1,2: Let
as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy
of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be
blasphemed. And those who have believing masters, let them not despise
them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who
are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.
Titus 2:9,10: Exhort
bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in
all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good
fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all
1 Peter 2:18-25:
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the
good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if
because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it
patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this
is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ
also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His
"Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not
revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed
Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His
own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for
righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep
going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your
But to quote the above
passages as condoning the institution of slavery, one would thereby be
confusing the offering of pragmatic advice on how to best handle a bad
situation as granting the rightness of that situation.
Yet obviously Peter
and Paul didn't so regard the institution of slavery as being at all just,
for then there would have been no cause for Peter compare the slave's
suffering to that of Jesus in 1 Peter 2:21-25 – as certainly any true
Christian regards the scourging and execution of Jesus to have been
unjust, to say the very least.
Thus the fact that
Peter did compare the slave's suffering to that of Jesus is by itself
enough to demonstrate that he considered it to be unjust.
So what of the actual
ethical status of the institution of slavery as it concerns Jesus's own
teachings? On this question there can be no doubt, as one of the main
reasons Jesus came was to call us to liberty! Jesus said this Himself as
recorded in Luke 4:16-21:
So He came to
Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went
into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was
handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He
found the place where it was written:
"The Spirit of the
LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the
To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To
set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year
of the LORD."
Then He closed the
book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all
who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them,
"Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
So here we have it:
Jesus Himself said that He came to proclaim liberty to the captives and to
set at liberty the oppressed!
The word "liberty" in
Luke 4:18 is a translation of the Greek word aphesis, and means: release
from bondage or imprisonment; forgiveness or pardon, i.e., remission of
Thus, it is a complete
and absolute negation of the condition of being a slave. And since there
exists no recorded instance of Jesus qualifying the above statement, it
then becomes quite clear that Jesus is very much against the institution
of slavery – besides of course slavery being totally incompatible with the
So how are we to make
better sense of Paul and Peter's above statements, since it is clear that
the institution of slavery is very anti-Christian in the most literal
sense of the word (i.e., as it concerns the actual doctrine as preached by
One must bear in mind
that Paul and Peter knew better than most of the injustices contained
within this Satanic world system – Paul himself was continuously in and
out of prisons during his ministry, and would at last be beheaded by
government for preaching the gospel of Christ, just as John the Baptist
was beheaded by government before him for preaching the same.
In 1 Corinthians
9:19-23 Paul clarifies his above statements while at the same time
declaring the absoluteness of his God-given rightful liberty:
For though I am free
from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the
more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those
who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are
under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being
without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win
those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win
the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means
save some. Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of
it with you.
It is here where the
seeming contradiction of certain passages in the Bible whereby Paul and
Peter admonish slaves to "obey their masters" (see Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22; 1
Tim. 6:1; Tit. 2:9; 1 Peter 2:18) is cleared up. Such an admonition is a
pragmatic one, not a categorical moral one – as Paul himself declared his
absolute rightful freedom from all men (and also called for people to
"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ," 1 Cor. 11:1)!
So rather than laying
hands on one's Earthly "master," or trying to run away – which in the end
would probably only affect one's freedom in a negative way – a much better
and effective solution would be to convert one's Earthly "master" to
Jesus, and if one has truly succeeded in doing so – i.e., whereby one's
Earthly "master" becomes infilled with the Holy Spirit – then one will
have at once gained one's God-given absolute liberty, at least in relation
to what the positive law considers one's "master."
The reason that this
is necessarily the case is because Jesus commanded the absolute law as
treating others as you would want others to treat you (Matt. 7:12; Luke
6:31), yet the very institution of slavery is founded upon the exact
opposite principle, as Abraham Lincoln pointed out (if only it had been
that Lincoln himself had bothered to follow the logic of his below
If A. can prove,
however conclusively, that he may, of right, enslave B. – why may not B.
snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A? –
You say A. is white,
and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to
enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the
first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.
You do not mean color
exactly? You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the
blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By
this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an
intellect superior to your own.
But, say you, it is a
question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest; you have the
right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest,
he has the right to enslave you. (Abraham Lincoln, Fragments on Slavery,
c. April 1, 1854)
In the above
discussion on the Golden Rule as commanded by Jesus it was pointed out
that to not follow the Golden Rule is to do the opposite of the Golden
Rule: i.e., to treat others as you would not want others to treat you – of
which ethic was termed the Luciferian Principle (see the above discussion
on this as to why such a designation logically follows). Yet this is the
very principle on which the institution of slavery necessarily rests.
And in further support
of my contention that the conversion of a slave's Earthly "master" to
Jesus would be the most effective and practical solution in obtaining
one's God-given absolute liberty – at least in relation to what the
positive law considers one's "master" – consider Paul's own words on this
2 Corinthians 3:17:
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is
The word "liberty" in
2 Corinthians 3:17 is a translation of the Greek noun eleutheria
and is completely congruent in meaning with the English word "liberty,"
i.e., as in "freedom from slavery," "independence," "absence of external
restraint," "a negation of control or domination," "freedom of access,"
etc. Thus, it is the complete negation of a state of slavery. But in fact,
Paul even goes further than this in the very passages above which some
have contended condone the institution of slavery. Thus in Ephesians 6:9
And you, masters, do
the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own
Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Yet it is plainly
clear that if a slave's "master" were to actually and truly give up
threatening – of all things – then there can hardly even be said to exist
a state of slavery any more in relation to what the positive law considers
the "master" and the "slave," as the very institution of slavery is
enforced by the threat of either physical harm for non-compliance or
recapture in the case of escape.
Thus, this passage is
actually a case of advocating the de facto abolition of slavery even while
a state of de jure slavery – as considered by the positive law –
may still be in place!
It is for the above
reasons why the above cited passages which some have contended condone the
institution of slavery can only make any sense within the Christian point
of view as pragmatic advice on how best to handle a bad and unjust
situation, and certainly cannot be regarded as commentary on the ethical
rightfulness of the institution of slavery; nor for that matter as a
categorical moral imperative as to how one is always to conduct oneself –
as Paul and Peter were often in rebellion to what the positive law
considered their "masters." Extreme problems arise for those who would try
and contend otherwise – for just one example of the problems presented to
those who would thus contend, consider the following statement by Paul:
1 Timothy 5:23: No
longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and
your frequent infirmities.
Yet this statement by
Paul is completely unqualified, and far more direct than his above advice
to slaves. Thus, for those who would contend that Paul was giving a
categorical moral imperative as to how a slave is always to conduct
himself in relation to his "master" – as opposed to merely offering advice
as to the best and most practical way in which a slave could go about
obtaining his God-given liberty in relation to his "master" – such
individuals, if they are to be consistent, would also have to contend that
according to Paul it is a sin not to drink wine!
In fact the case for
this contention would actually be much stronger than in that of Paul's
advice to slaves, for unlike in his advice to slaves nowhere does Paul
qualify the above statement! Yet obviously to make such a contention would
be absurd, as in both cases it would be confusing pragmatic advice with a
categorical moral imperative.
But moreover, here is
what Jesus Himself had to say about the serving of masters:
Matthew 6:24: "No one
can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other,
or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot
serve God and mammon." (See also Luke 16:13.)
Yet what in the world
is the institution of slavery if not mammon? If the institution of slavery
does not qualify as mammon then there is nothing that possibly could! For
it is a method of obtaining wealth that is a complete and utter violation
of Jesus's ultimate ethical commandment:
"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this
is the Law and the Prophets." (See also Luke 6:31.)
Thus it becomes clear
that the institution of slavery is just another product of this sick
Satanic world system – of which system Jesus is to ultimately overthrow in
the time of His Judgement. Mammon indeed!