The Preacher’s survey of the various manifestations of fallen man’s crookedness that prevents societal endeavor has been comprehensive. He has examined greed, lust, laziness, hope in political salvation, and the lack of self-control. The source of all of these is God’s curse — the very basis of humanity’s morally bent status.
The inability of humanistic man to “listen” to God (5:1) means they won’t submit to the covenant and lose access to both regeneration and the revelation of God’s Law-Word with the system of ethics it contains. Without God’s covenant, men can only create tyranny and are powerless to make anything else with all their wisdom (5:2-3). Even the making of vows (5:4-7) cannot stop the force of God’s curse — His burden upon those in rebellion to His covenant — and so none of their efforts towards civilizational come to fruition.
The Preacher will now bring to light another awful master over fallen man. Michael W. Kelley ably writes, “Dictatorial and pertinacious, it is the insatiable power of “want.”” (The Burden of God, pp 99) He also describes this uncontrollable want of fallen man as a great contradiction. Adam was designed to want to glorify and obey God, be fruitful with his wife, tend the Garden of Eden, explore the three rivers leaving the Garden of Eden, and eat from the Tree of Life. These ‘wants’ produce maturity, glory to God and dominion.
Sin was the voluntary submission of man to the greatest tyrant — himself — unrestrained by God’s covenant. We transitioned from the desire to please God to desire to please man, glorifying creature rather than Creator.
As always, the Preacher highlights God’s covenant as the answer to God’s burden-curse on fallen man.
Bureaucracy and self-interest
If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them.
- Ecclesiastes 5:8
The Preacher is critiquing the red-tape of man’s justice. Humanism has never manifested itself so openly as through the establishment, strengthening, and bloating of administration — all of which plague both civil and church governments. With extensive and seemingly powerful central governments, the strong foreign nations were very tempting idols for Israel to lust after — order, power, and prestige. However, those very things which make bureaucracies attractive are the same means by which they oppress people.
Crushing weight from on high
Let’s consider this picture presented to us. First, the oppression, or extortion, of the poor, and the perverting of justice and righteousness is attributed to bureaucracy. This is emphasized by the Preacher instruction ‘don’t be amazed.’ He isn’t talking about an enigma, but an apparent trend of a God-ordained institution (civil-government) rife with humanism. A State unrestrained by God’s covenant is a beast in waiting, like the devil, looking out for people to crush between its teeth (1 Peter 5:8).
Scripture provides us with many examples of kings and rulers who sought their gain rather than fulfilling the duty their office required — service. Solomon, on top of the three tithes in Scripture and the head-poll tax sufficient to fund the godly social order, added another tax (tithe). He traded and multiplied his horses and chariots (amassing a large standing army), forbidden by God’s Law, especially since those horses came from Egypt (1 Kings 10:27-29; Deuteronomy 17:16). Solomon obtained many wives and concubines with the opulence bestowed on him, mostly through tax funds, for personal pleasure (1 Kings 11:1-7). His lack of teaching his son ‘in the way he should go’ (Proverbs 22:6) — probably because of the sleeping with his son’s many ‘mothers’ — is evident in Rehoboam’s wickedness and stubborn tyranny (1 Kings 12:1-24). Solomon’s selfish lusts and actions resulted in division, civil war, and financial distress for the people (although he wasn’t affected by this), and it is no wonder the people remembered Solomon as a ‘heavy yoke.’
We can see another example in Saul. He went to Gilgal to ultimately confront the Philistines who had been operating within the border. The Philistines were successful since they sharpened the swords for Israelites — something made illegal by Saul comparable to modern gun restrictions. This scenario casts doubt on any interpretation that might cast Saul’s marching to Gilgal as a righteously-minded act. He weakened his people so that they couldn’t defend themselves against him. Foreign nations benefited from providing a service he refused to his people, probably endearing themselves to the Israelites. His self-centered rulership was the soil for everything that followed. Saul’s wicked violation of righteousness started before the wrongful sacrifice and the edict of death for eating.
We could point out many more, such as the confrontation and killing of Naboth over a piece of land Ahab wanted for himself (1 Kings 21:1-16). Ultimately, this godless bureaucracy pointed out by the Preacher was condemned by Christ. Jesus taught us not to ‘Lord it over’ one another like the Gentile rulers, which can be transliterated as ‘rule against’ one another — ruling in a harmful way towards individuals by going beyond jurisdiction. Humanistic rulers, and the bureaucracies they create, ‘rule against’ the poor and create a multitude of oppressed because they will not submit to the righteousness and justice of God’s covenant.
Considering the book is post-exilic (refer to discussions on authorship by J.A. Loader and R.N. Whybray), it is best assumed that the Preacher is not warning against a hypothetical sin Israel might commit. There is a very real danger that the temptation to follow the “gods” of the nations and their tyrannical social orders would result in Israel oppressing the poor. Zechariah wrote,
And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.”
- Zechariah 7:8-14
God’s people had a history of tyranny, exemplified in what Habakkuk called devouring “the poor in secret” (Habakkuk 3:14), and Amos referred to as trampling “the head of the poor into the dust of the earth” (Amos 2:7).
Even when these rulers set about to make man-made welfare systems, because they are at odds with God’s covenant, they result in further damage to the poor. George Grant is, by far, one of the best Christian authors on poverty and biblical welfare. If you want to see the damage done to the poor by bureaucratic welfare agencies, you should read his chapter “The War on the Poor” in Bringing In The Sheaves: Transforming Poverty Into Productivity.
Ezekiel 22: A Case Study in Devouring the Poor
In condemning the wickedness of the rulers of Israel, God said through Ezekiel,
And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are dross of silver. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As one gathers silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into a furnace, to blow the fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”
- Ezekiel 22:17-22
First, this word-picture of condemnation is inseparable from the evil brought to our attention by the Preacher. God declares that the ‘princes’ of Israel are ‘bloodthirsty’ (v.7). One of their activities of bloodshed is extorting or robbing the poor (v.29).
A specific form of extorting the poor highlighted by Ezekial is the charging of interest on loans to the poor (v.12), a flagrant violation of God’s Law (Leviticus 25:35-38). The villainy of this transgression cannot be overstated, because God gives redemptive reasoning for this commandment — ‘who brought you out of the land of Egypt…to be your God.’ This oppression of the poor connotes that the rulers of Israel forgot Yahweh’s redemptive love, which is the very reason they had their current status — redemption is the origin of godly civilization.
The second thing to note is that Israel is condemned as dross in silver (bronze, tin, iron, lead). Pay attention, Israel wasn’t plagued with impurities (dross). — she was the impurity in God’s silver. Notice, the status of ‘dross’ was given for the willful disobedience of His people. Making oneself dross is evil only if the actual act of adding dross to precious metal is wicked, which from God’s painting as such to condemn them, that is the case.
Adding dross is a form of inflation — making it seem like there is more of something, which in fact, you have only bastardized the original. For example, sticking with the Preacher’s focus, a ruler, or prominent man, is controlled by sinful nature, so his ‘want’ grows out of control. Being wealthy as it is is not enough. He begins to take portions of his gold and silver, melts them down, adds dross (non-precious metals), and ‘increases’ the amount of ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ in his treasury.
God also equates the evil practice of inflation-by-dross with diluting wine with water when condemning Israel’s sin in Isaiah 1:22. To this point, we’ve noted that Israel was being criticized for, among many things, extorting the poor. Their rebellion against God’s covenant was equated with the vile practice of inflation. The question is, so what if the rulers inflated money?
First, it is a form of theft. When a poor Israelite or foreign day-laborer, who was to be paid immediately after accomplishing their work according to God’s Law (Deuteronomy 24:14-15), is paid with inflated-by-dross money, what he is owed is withheld. If he is owed one denarius and is given an impure denarius, then the laborer is a victim of theft. The employer has practiced oppression and extortion.
Second, it is a form of false-testimony or false-witness (Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20). The ninth commandment is generally understood as “don’t tell lies,” but that falls short of Scripture’s point. It doesn’t work when we find godly deception used against God’s enemies throughout revelation. The proper understanding would be giving false testimony against your neighbor for the express purpose of doing them harm, and possibly even benefiting from their downfall. God detested this practice, and divinely appointed the punishment for the false-testifier to be whatever the intended punishment would have been for the falsely accused (Deuteronomy 19:16-21). Making payments with inflated money is also false testimony, for it declares a specific value of something, but delivers less than that at the detriment of the other party.
Third, the poor are oppressed by the speed by which the money supply is increased and their lack of access. Robert Thoburn writes,
Man can not create wealth by fiat. Increasing the money supply results in a corresponding decrease in the value of all money. This is why the dollar has steadily lost its value. Inflation is a form of silent burglar. It steals from its victims. Its victims are those on fixed incomes. Its victims, as often as not, are the poor and elderly.
- Robert L. Thoburn, The Christian and Politics, pp 57.
When civil governments print massive amounts of fiat money, even when it’s for ‘waging war’ against poverty, it burdens the poor. The amount of money they receive will not come close to the amount of money kept by the welfare department. So not only is the less valuable dollar they receive insignificant as compared to what was made, but everything they had previously is now worthless. God tells us that the wicked man’s mercy is cruel (Proverbs 12:10).
Did Israel heed the Preacher’s warning? There are three texts in Scripture that lead us to a definitive no. The extortion practiced during Ezekiel’s time and warned of by the Preacher continued in Israel’s life.
But there will be no poor among you; for the LORD will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess— if only you will strictly obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today.
- Deuteronomy 15:4-5
The Preacher has impressed upon us that covenantal fidelity surpasses autonomy’s reasoning and culture-building endeavors. God’s covenant provides the only solution to our cultural problem, God’s burden — vanity-by-curse as punishment for sin — as it offers redemption, regeneration, and sanctification. With the renewal of covenant-man through God’s covenant, he can succeed in nation-building.
A vital component of a nation is its handling of welfare. God promises something to His people that we might find mind-boggling, hard to actualize, or even impossible – the eradication of poverty (v.4). It is hard because we often forget how God usually accomplishes His will in history — the obedient actions of God’s people representing Him in the world. A blessing of dominion is the end of poverty, and Yahweh gives the blessing-tool to do so — His Law. Within it, God outlines the poor tithe (Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:10-15), gleaning laws (Leviticus 19:9-10), no interest poor-loans (Leviticus 25:35-38), the requirement to pay poor workers at the end of the workday (Deuteronomy 24:14-15), and even notable exceptions for those offering sacrifices in the ‘lower-income’ bracket (Leviticus 14:21-22). The last one is interesting because it assumes that the ‘poor’ of Israel would, after the nation continued in obedience for some time, not be like the ‘poor’ of other nations, as they could still afford to sacrifice to Yahweh.
Did God’s people obey? Was their trust in Yahweh’s provision reflected in their obedience? Up to the Babylonian exile, the pre- and post-exilic Prophets tell us no. Now, with the Preacher’s warning of the oppression of humanistic rule, did Israel learn her lesson?
As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
- Mark 10:17-22
Nope, the warning went in one ear and out the other. There was a plethora of poor in Jesus’s time, as is apparent in Mark’s passage. What is distressing at our time is just as it was with God’s people in the Old Testament, we have rulers oppressing the poor. Martin Selbrede helpfully shows this is the very thing being deal with during the ordeal of the Rich Young Ruler,
Deut. 15:4 points out that if God’s laws are obeyed, “there shall be no more poor among you.” The modern state, by waging a secular “war on poverty” while violating God’s laws, has increased poverty. Obeying God’s poor tithe brings “God’s blessing (Deut. 14:28-29; 16:12-15) while neglecting it amounts to grinding the faces of the poor (Isa. 3:15). When Jesus said in Matt. 26:11, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me with you,” He was telling the disciples that in their lifetime they would not always have personal face-to-face contact with Him but they would with the poor. He was indicting Israel’s violation of the poor tithe, quoting from Deut. 15:11 that “there shall always be poor people in the land” because those who should pay the poor tithe were “hardhearted and tightfisted” (Deut. 15:7). In Mark 10:19ff Jesus was not indicting the rich young ruler for coveting, but rather for failing to keep the poor tithe. Verse 19’s unique term defraud not (Greek: apostereseis) is used in Deut. 24:14, Mal. 3:5 and Ex. 21:10 in regard to depriving or withholding from the needy. As with the woman at the well (John 4:18), Jesus pierced the ruler’s lawlessness. Because God is not a respecter of persons, Jesus focused on a specific sin (sin=transgression of God’s Law; 1 John 3:4) that required repentance. Jesus called on the ruler to pay restitution to the poor he had covertly robbed through disobedience (similar to the four-fold restitution that Zacchaeus, in obedience to God’s Law, announced he would pay to those he had defrauded, prompting salvation coming upon his house). The amount the ruler had withheld from the poor over the years, after God’s restitution was compounded, amounted to “all he had” (Mark 10:21). Shortly thereafter, in Mark 12:43ff, we meet the poor widow for whom two mites was “all she had.” This widow was a likely victim of the ruler’s persistence in transgressing God’s Law; two centuries earlier her need could have been satisfied because Israel had, despite economically difficult times, maintained on hand the poor tithe offerings for such charitable relief (2 Macc. 3:10 – 600 talents of silver & gold).”
- Martin G. Selbrede, Taxation, Liberty, and the Bible
During Jesus’ time, the poor abounded, and from the example, rulers weren’t above robbing God by defrauding the poor tithe that God commanded (Malachi 3:8).
For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.
- Matthew 26:11
This verse doesn’t bode well for Israel. The context (while also gleaning from the account in John 12) is that Mary Magdalen broke open an expensive container of ointment, poured it on Christ’s head, and used its pricey content while washing Christ’s feet with her own hair. This was an act of worship and contrition before the Messiah. Judas Iscariot, leading the rest of the disciples, declared it a waste of wealth that could have been converted to hard money and used for the poor. However, Jesus knew that even if they did do that, the money wouldn’t have gone to the poor, but lined the disciple’s pocket who would sell Jesus to the religious leaders.
However, something beyond the immediate context is revealed, hinting towards an event in the not distant future. In pointing out both the goodness of ‘wasting’ money on the Messiah, he also condemns the disciples (truly Judas) of their wickedness, which is theft in this case. Jesus said you will always have the poor ‘among you.’ Don’t forget that we have already seen that the presence of poverty is a covenantal sign of disobedience (Deuteronomy 15:4-5). This was very true in the sense of Judas. The poor were all around him, I mean they were his victims — he very well could have been stealing from the poor-tithe or alms. And in the end, he threw away his blood money after betraying Jesus. Not only did he live emptying others, but he also emptied his pockets, then emptied his life in a field alone (Matthew 27:5).
But, remember that Jesus spoke to the disciples and Judas — they ignorantly followed in the outrage over the ‘waste.’ What does the ‘poor among you’ mean in regards to the disciples? First, after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, he was no longer physically present with the disciples, which is what He meant by saying they wouldn’t have Him forever. Second, Jesus affirms that assisting the poor is good and required, but that this wasn’t the current time to focus on it. He affirms the need for them to alleviate poverty through biblical means (God’s Law regarding poverty).
Third, and most pertinent to the Preacher’s point, Christ tells them, and us, that Israel wouldn’t repent of her infidelity until she was destroyed in AD 70. The eradication of poverty is a blessing in God’s covenant for His people’s faithful obedience to the totality of God’s Law.
A quick note needs to be made. Many people have taken Jesus’ words to mean that poverty will be a never-ending reality for all of time. People even use this argument to show how Jesus isn’t a socialist, but that is one of those ‘right answer wrong method’ kinda things. Thinking that this is what Jesus meant would require us to think the second statement also is a never-ending reality — we will not have Jesus with us soon. Of course, that is not the case. We are closer to having Him again than the disciples were due to His physical return after putting all His enemies under His feet.
Always having the poor among them was a call for them to serve. It was also a national indictment. We have a proliferation of poverty. The primary application from Jesus’ words here for us is that we need to serve and obey God’s commandments towards the poor, and the lack thereof is more reason for why our situation is similar to theirs.
It’s about me!
Second, bureaucrats are self-interested. Where are their interests? Do they look out at their jurisdictions with an eye for righteousness and a sword ready to punish injustice? Are they about the business of serving those they represent? No. The rulers are looking upwards, and I don’t mean at God. They are focused on their watchers, the up-the-ladder bureaucrats. They are the gatekeepers to a more ‘significant’ career or the obstacle to advancement.
Kicking out the ladder
Third, a point not unlike the previous, the politics of humanism revolve around preserving power. The up-the-ladder bureaucrats have to look out below. People jockeying to move past them, drag them down, throw them out, or replace ‘em. Their efforts are spent defending their current position of power and control — access to manipulative administrative coercion levers.
God’s covenantal provision
God’s covenant provides the answer to the consequences of the humanistic wisdom that tempted Israel. The answers, bulwarks, and solutions are found in God’s promises, provision, and law. The first one is directly from our text, and the others developed from a more comprehensive array of Scripture.
Lands, produce, king
But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.
- Ecclesiastes 5:9
Translating this text is difficult. Viable translations are offered by Barton, Leupold, Gordis, Mofatt, Delitzsch, Lauha, and Plumptre to name a few. However, with the backdrop of this benefit, or ‘gain,’ being the evils of bureaucratic administration and the resultant suffering it causes, the points developed from their translations may all be true. They align with each other and contrast the Preacher’s highlighted evil.
First, the king should recognize that the land of his jurisdiction is not for his benefit. It is for the citizens’ benefit. The ‘kings’ service is for the cultivation of the jurisdiction for justice and righteousness — as opposed to oppression and the violating of justice — and not the lustful consumption for himself.
Second, the civil sphere’s abuse of authority does not negate the civil sphere’s ordained existence. A king operating by God’s covenant is a ‘gain’ for the land itself. By educating future generations according to God’s promises and commandments, we know how to train up that kind of civil servant.
Third, a ‘gain’ for a nation is a civil government that does not allocate resources. Where, what, and how to spend on the goods of the land is up to the individuals who have ownership over those resources — not the state.
A God who ‘keeps’
God is a God who keeps His Word. Humanity, being made in His image, must also keep their word. God holds Himself accountable to keep it (the perfect standard), but man will be held responsible by God because of His authority over creation. Although rebellious man, not willing to hold himself accountable, God will and intervene accordingly. The way He does this is by oath.
The world is built on oaths. Some oaths are inherited, while others are voluntarily made. At birth, man inherits an oath made with Adam at creation — the fruitful extending of God’s dominion as vice-regents. At birth, people also inherit the curse of the broken oath due to Adam’s rebellion.
Civil service is oath based as well. According to God’s Law, as one entered into the role of king, they were required to fulfill specific duties that others were not — voluntary oath. For nations today, whether they take a public oath by some ceremony or not, every ruler is required to submit to the Messiah — inherited oath (Psalm 2:10-12). Psalm 2 opens by speaking to all nations who rebel against God’s covenant, and so this injunction to ‘kiss the Son’ belongs to all nations. Regarding civil service and oaths, Rushdoony writes,
It should be apparent by now that an oath of office is a covenant fact. The U.S. Constitution, by requiring an oath of office, thereby continued the Puritan doctrine of a covenant nation and people. The oath was then still a serious and religious fact, carefully guarded by law. Originally, the oath of office was taken on an open Bible, opened to Deuteronomy 28. The oath of office is still used, even for those entering the bureaucracy, which means that, however empty the oath may be to these men, it still invokes all the curses of the law for disobedience.
- R.J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology In Two Volumes, pp 402.
God is a God who ‘keeps.’ Our hope is in God, and He holds civil servants accountable.
Appeals, sanction, and poor-dominion
The Preacher’s main point of verse 9 isn’t a pragmatic idea that generally works out or some deduction from natural law. As we explored above, it is a concluding thought built on a system developed by God’s revelation. He offers the alternative to verse 8 — godly rule and limited jurisdiction for civil government, which is rooted in God’s Word. This standard applies to every nation and crosses all borders.
Now, when we have an Ecclesiastes 5:8 situation — humanistic bureaucracy, unrighteous judgments and rulings, oppression of the poor — what recourse do we have? We have the God-ordained ability to appeal.
On a human level, God’s Law put in place ascending courts of appeal. The higher courts did not have the authority to coerce lower courts to certain judgments. The lower courts, functionally speaking, have the most authority, as they make judgments on cases to a far greater degree than a higher court. The benefits of tiered courts, according to God’s design, are plentiful. First, this system fostered humility because it was institutionally acceptable for a judge to admit the inability to make a concrete judgment and pass it up to the high courts for further deliberation and potentially greater knowledge of past cases (common law). Second, another facet of this system of appeals is accountability. When the courts operate and exercise judgments on a mostly local level, and the judges being locally based, there is greater accountability for the judge to administer justice and righteousness. Third, it gives a recourse against aloof and distant tyrants. If a higher judge, prince, or king, then the lower civil servants can represent the people they are responsible for in disobedience to the higher civil servant. Commonly, this is referred to as the doctrine of the lesser magistrate.
Beyond this system of courts, God provides an even more excellent avenue of appeal — prayer. While rulers may ignore, encourage, or commit disobedience to God’s Law, no matter how much authority they seek to gather to themselves, God is not shut out. He doesn’t fail to bring His sanctions to bear — blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Hebrews speaks of prayers as coming ‘the throne room of grace,’ and as those benefiting from the reconciling-man-and-God by Christ, we should do so ‘boldly’ (Hebrews 4:16).
To come back around to the Preacher’s focus of oppressions, God tells us,
You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
- Exodus 22:22-24
Israel was not to oppress the vulnerable, and if they did, their appeals to God would be heard, and wrathful justice would be brought out. There is redemptive logic behind this warning of the oppressed’s appeals and God’s open ears — Israel was also oppressed while in Egypt. She appealed to God, and He heard and answered (Deuteronomy 26:7-9).
Now, putting the principles of ‘prayer-appeal’ and ‘God-hears-the-oppressed-and-acts,’ we have a tactical application for reformation when found under judges and rulers like those in Ecclesiastes 5:8. Suppose we begin to actively disciple the poor within our communities, applying and offering the various poverty laws given by God, transforming poverty into productivity through teaching and training. In that case, we’ll see a swelling of covenant-people amongst the poor. Their cries against the injustice and oppression of these wicked men would be a powerful tool of reformation. We quickly look to the top for solutions instead of the righteousness of the ‘average’ person in society, which neuters our ability to establish justice and righteousness.
Ultimately, God’s always-and-everywhere authoritative Law, and His ever-listening ear, are the hope of the oppressed. Gary North, along these lines, writes,
The fact that, at any point in time, rival human courts are imposing sanctions in terms of a rival system of law does not mean that God’s law and God’s sanctions are not operative. The timing of the trial is in God’s hands, not man’s hands.
- Gary North, Autonomy and Stagnation, p 75.