The Sovereign’s Courts

Extracts from the article The Sovereign’s Courts by R. J Rushdoony.

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. — I Corinthians 6:1-8

It is a common-place statement among historians that Judea was an insignificant corner of the Roman Empire; therefore, not of very great importance. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, when in the first century B. C. Rome took over Judea and Galilee it did so very happily. It was an event and an opportunity they welcomed because of the strategic importance of that area not only as a major trade route, but in terms of the eastern frontiers of the empire.

So Rome went out of its way to favor Judea. Hence, its vengeance when they felt betrayed in the Jewish Roman war of 66–70 A. D., a fearful war of vengeance, unparalleled in history. They had poured money into Jerusalem and elsewhere, turned it into a palatial city of marvelously paved streets, marble palaces, important and strategic centers of the empire.

Our Academic Elites like to keep Christians as ignorant about the actual facts as possible; Christians are to break the fetters of ignorance – and the Internet can definitely help here!

Now, in the early days Christian places of worship were simply Christian synagogues. But Paul changed this from synagogues to the ekklesia.

This is often translated as ‘church’, but as of 2015, this simply clouds and distorts the meaning of the word, and of what Paul was actually saying.

Ekklesia was a political term. It was the name for the city council, the governing body of the area. Here in our county we would say the board of supervisors because virtually all of the county is unincorporated.

What was Paul doing in using a technical, political term to describe the Christian assembly? He was saying that in terms of the Kingdom of God, you are to be His governing body upon earth. First, to govern yourself, then to extend your scope into the community so that little by little the kingdoms of this world are made the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.

It is no wonder that very quickly the church began to be viewed with suspicion. It was, to use the old term, an imperium in imperio, an empire within the Roman Empire, claiming to have its own apostles, emissaries of the King of Kings, its own ekklesia, governing bodies. And, in fact, in the original we find the word paroikia, our English word “parish” used which originally meant an embassy. And Paul speaks of himself, in the English text, as an ambassador of Jesus Christ.

Now an ambassador has extraterritorial rights and powers as does the embassy. And this is why the ekklesia, from the beginning, refused to submit to Roman licensure or taxation or regulation.

The Secular State recognizes no law, and no authority, other than itself.

But it s a corrupt, rotting, dying thing, to be broadly washed away by AD 2100, or even a good deal earlier.

Instead of bewailing the uncompromising hostility of a dying, murderous failure of a god, Christians need to get to work on actually living the Law of God.

While submission to the ungodly powers of this world is required up to a point because the pivotal aspect of the Kingdom of God is regeneration, not revolution, the church is the advanced army of God’s Kingdom, called to convert, not to coerce the nations of the world to Christ (Matt. 28:18–20). If the church, the ekklesia of Christ, turns from God’s law, it turns from His Kingdom to the kingdom of man. This is a form of apostasy and can only be treated as such.

Apostasy is a dreary burden on the church. Kick it out.

Our Ruling Masters are always eager to welcome apostates. The enemies of God, cast out of the church and handed over to Satan, can run into Establishment arms if they wish, and worship whatever child-killing Moloch the Elite offer as an object worthy of worship.

God’s people have better things to do.

Paul thus states the issue bluntly: “Dare any of you” (v. 1). Notice that word “dare.” This is an affront to God, to Christ the King. “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?”(v. 1). Paul regards such a step as daring insolence in the face of God.


Paul calls the pagan courts “unjust.” This does not mean that some decisions could not be good ones, but that the basic premise of such courts is the rule of man, not God. The existence of Christ’s ekklesia means the existence of another law sphere, the true one, and an institution to promote and further it. You can see what it means for the church to abandon God’s law, to abandon theonomy. It means—and one group has followed the logic to its conclusion—you reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You cannot have it because if Christ is Lord then the Word of God is a law book for His people.

Christ is Lord. Therefore, we must obey His word – as opposed to the droning of a bunch of senile, sterile bankrupts.

Paul asks, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (v. 2). He takes it for granted. This is a fundamental fact. “Do ye not know, are you so ignorant of the faith that you do not know this?” The word judge is krinousin; now judgment is a central and basic aspect of rule. So one could render it, “Do ye not know that the saints shall rule the world?” But he uses a broader term in the Greek translated as judge. No man or power rules who does not provide the law and the judgment. To surrender either is to acknowledge a greater power. It is the calling of a Christian in Christ to rule the world by the law of God. To give supremacy to another law than God’s is to deny God’s sovereignty and lordship. If the world is in time to be judged and ruled by Christians, how can they now act as though incompetent to judge the smallest matters?

Laziness, cowardice, and a certain contempt to the Lord they claim to worship.

But no matter: Christ calls to His own, who hear and obey. The future is with those who stand with Christ, as opposed to those who only offer lip service. Those who know that Christ will win, in time and on earth. Step by step, God’s people will retake the land from those who merely squat on it.

Law is the will of the sovereign power for the lives of those within his jurisdiction or rule, his saved ones, in effect, the redeemed of his rule. These come under the protection of their lord or sovereign.

You can trust in God and his victory, or in politicians and bureaucrats selling promises.

Rushdoony continues (my bold):

We live in a time when the relics of Christian law are around us, but are increasingly being eroded which makes it all the more important for us to recognize the situation and to begin to create a Christian system. In fact, one man sought to do so, someone whom I knew well, Lawrence Eck, a brilliant young man, one of the most brilliant younger lawyers in the country who sought to set up counsels of arbitration to adjudicate all cases between Christians and Christians. They were remarkably successful until the pietistic influence prevailed and those courts of settlement were taken over by people whose attitude was, “Yes, you were wronged. You were robbed of 20,000 or 200,000  (I am talking about specific instances) by a fellow believer. But why can’t you forgive and forget? Isn’t it better to be at peace with your brother than to have your money back?” And so they destroyed the courts. And Lawrence Eck, a lawyer, because he called attention very graciously to a judicial error by a judge was thrown into jail for contempt of court and beaten to death. So you can see what is happening.

The work of Lawrence Eck must be taken up, once again. (A possible example is here.) Be sure to give no space to the enemy – especially when they coo on and on about how Tolerant and how Compassionate they are! Justice is the goal, not the protection of thievery (knowingly or not!)!

Clearly, for Paul the Christian is not called to validate the world’s ways and institutions, nor to wage war against them by civil disobedience, or any like strategy. The Paul who wrote 1 Corinthians did not deny the jurisdiction of Caesar’s court when taken before it. Rather, he worked to bring into life another law system, its courts, and its Sovereign.

The church in our time has largely forsaken Paul’s requirements. Is it then a valid ekklesia, a local ruling counsel? The word ekklesia or church means more than preaching, although preaching is clearly required. It is a proclamation of the law-word of the Great King. The church must again be the church to be blessed of God.

Because we are called to be obedient to the powers that be, we do not, in civil society, practice civil disobedience but obedience. Within our Kingdom realm, we apply God’s law and seek to bring all men into its orbit. Our King’s law must govern us, but we are the people of the Prince of Peace, and what we do must work ultimately to the peace of all society.

The old society of Satan is falling apart all around us.

Let it fall.

We are called to bring a new society, a better society, into being. Let us then turn to out assigned tasks, and bring the Spirit of God into our hearts, into our lives, and into our societies.

Like all worthy tasks, getting started is a hard slog… but it gets easier and easier with time and practice. The enemy is destined for the dust: technology and time, directed by God, works to undermine, fragment, and shatter the Consensus so treasured by those who hate God and His people.

They will fall: indeed, they are falling even as I type this line.

So long as we stand with Christ, we will rise, and inherit the world.

Just as Christ said in the Bible.



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