May the Watchers Become Warriors
I was reflecting last month how every spiritual problem we deal with has its roots in not knowing how to relate to God as our Father. A number of recent conversations on fatherhood have only served to reinforce this observation. Why do I say this? Because the Father's remedy for man was to sacrifice His Son so that we could be reconciled to Him and know His ways (John 1:18; II Corinthians 5:19). This is the answer for all mankind: to know the Father and be known by Him.
Last week, I was asked to speak on a blog talk radio show regarding the article "Biblical, Godly Authority", which caused a little stir amongst some Christians on Facebook. What was the big deal? Asserting that God's authority is patriarchal, stating that there is an order God has established for the home & church, and daring to contend that there is anything like "authority" in the Body of Christ to which we are called to submit. Even some who said they heard and agreed with the talk show still contacted me to contest these same points again; demonstrating that they really didn't understand what was said at all.
There continues to be a blindness in man's heart as to what it means to know God as our Father and the key to this understanding is found in repentance. It is not until we turn from sin (align our view of sin with God's) that we can know God in this way. Unless we do, we will never be able to walk in God's perfect will for our lives.
God Himself wants to be honored as a Father. Yet if we do not understand what this means, how can we offer Him the reverence He seeks from us?
God is a Patriarch
Matthew 6:9). He is the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6), the Father of lights (James 1:17), the Father of spirits (Hebrews 12:9), Father to the Fatherless (Psalms 68:5), the Father of mercies (II Corinthians 1:3), the Father of glory (Ephesians 1:17). Jesus came to make the “Father” known (John 15:15). It is not until we are born again that we can recognize and receive God as our “Abba” (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6).
God has set up the family in a particular order so as to reflect His character and authority as a Father. Even the church of God is nothing more than a family; His family. This is why we call each other brother and sister. All questions about order and authority in church fellowships are easily and only understood from that context. Whether physical or spiritual, the family provides a living example whereby we can come to know God the Father more and understand how to relate to Him as His children.
All of the things we might associate with the role of a father, God fulfills. He loves us, sacrifices for us, takes us into His family and gives us His name, gives us an identity, protects us, provides for us, chastens us, raises us, gives us an inheritance...
There is significance in God revealing Himself to us in this way because this attribute of fatherhood reinforces the fact that He is the Originator of everything. The word "father" in the Greek is pater; it is the root for the word "patriarch" and even the word "family" (patria in the Greek). Pater means: "The generator, originator, transmitter, progenitor of anything". So every time we call God "Father", we are implicitly acknowledging Him as the Creator of all and over all.
Many will say, "I know God is my Father, so this doesn't apply to me." Yet, the fact that we do not honor God as a Father belies these proclamations. How do we fail to honor Him? By rebelling against His authority (Hebrews 12:5-10).
God's Authority is Patriarchal
authority: Legal or rightful power; a right to command or act; dominion; jurisdiction.
authority" has as its root the word author because what you author or create, you have authority over. Since the Father is the Author of all, we know that He has authority over all. All authority belongs to Him. Even Jesus came not in His own authority, but in that of the Father (Matthew 28:18).
- The only type of authority which exists is that which is from God. Since God authors all, He has authority over all. While there is such a thing as illegitimate authority, by definition such equates to being NO authority because it is unlawful. Satan for example operates in illegitimate authority. In essence he has no true authority; he is only able to do what God allows him to do.
- This also means that all legitimate authority is patriarchal, because God is a Patriarch.
patriarchal: of or pertaining to a patriarch, the male head of a family
The authority that comes from God will always bear His signature; it will reflect & reinforce His image as a Father. We see this pattern throughout the Scriptures. Adam was created first and Eve made a help meet for him. In both in the Old & New Testaments, God raises up patriarchs to lead and forge His people. Blessings and curses are passed down from the father; even man's sin nature is inherited from the first man. The purpose for God doing this is not to glorify men, but as in all things, to bring our eyes back to Him.
Malachi Chapter 4 says that the spirit of Elijah will be sent with the express purpose of restoring patriarchy in the hearts of the people (the hearts of fathers & children being turned towards each other). Why Elijah? Because he is the one God used to confront the witchcrafts of Jezebel and her prophets when they turned the people's hearts away from God and sought to slay all those who were patriarchal in heart (I Kings 18:4, 13; 21:4-15).
This prophecy about the spirit of Elijah was fulfilled in part when John the Baptist came.
"And he [John the Baptist] shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Luke 1:17
What is it that John the Baptist specifically did to restore patriarchy in the hearts of the people? He preached repentance. This same message is the cry of the last days Church, because we are facing the same problems as then: a people enslaved by both unrighteous world systems and a harlot church ruled by leaders who hold back the truth in unrighteousness. This is why the spirit of Elijah must be sent once more before the "great & dreadful day of the Lord" (Malachi 4:5).
Repentance is the same thing as having a love for patriarchy (God's authority) restored in the heart. Repentance means to turn. When we repent, we are turning our hearts back to the Father; placing ourselves under His authority as Lord over our lives.
When Jesus & the disciples preached, "Repent!", they were commanding the people to turn their hearts back to the patriarchs - and in doing so to turn their hearts back to the supreme Patriarch, God the Father.
"Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Luke 3:8
Examine the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). He initially rebelled against his fathers authority, rejecting it and preferring to live as he pleased. When he repented he "turned back" to the father and subjected himself to his father's authority. That is repentance; a turning of the heart back to the father.
Everything in regards to the faith which Jesus saw in the people - or which they lacked - He attributed to the presence (or lack thereof) of their love for, and knowledge of, the Father (John 5:23-47, John 8:27-55; John 14:9-20).
"They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word." John 8:39-43
Do we see how God continues to equate honoring patriarchal authority in the earth as a barometer for whether we truly know God as we say we do? It is impossible for us to say we honor God, but then reject His authority and His order.
True Vs. False Authority
Any authority that is not from God - that is not patriarchal - is illegitimate. This is a reason why a woman rides the beast! It is not because women are evil or not spiritual. It is because female headship is the exact opposite of God's authority. The false church is matriarchal (whether represented visibly by female headship or by a castrated, effeminate man).
A patriarchal heart is endued by God with the desire & strength to fight, to protect, to lay down one's life, to serve, to stand for truth, to obey the Father, to see captives set free and reconciled to the Lord of Glory.
A matriarchal heart desires to be pampered, be told smooth things, live in "king's palaces", wear "soft clothes", be exalted, be served, use God for their own advantage, and bring people into bondage to themselves as lord's over His inheritance.
A major difference people noted about Jesus was that He spoke with authority, unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 7:29). One of the things this shows us is that it must be possible for people to recognize the difference between Godly authority and illegitimate authority. For a clear image of this, we can compare Jesus to the religious leaders of His day.
|Patriarchal Authority||False Authority|
|Jesus took no thought for His own life||They sought to live a pampered life|
|Jesus glorified the Father||They glorified themselves|
|Jesus came to serve||The wanted to be served|
|Jesus was humble||They were proud|
|Jesus was obedient to the Father||They were hypocrites|
|Jesus honored the Scriptures||They discounted or perverted them|
While this list is not intended to be comprehensive, the model for patriarchal authority is seen in servanthood to others through giving one's life as a sacrifice to the Father. Like the man in the home is called to lay down his life for his family, so are the elders in a church. Responding to that authority is a faith issue, like it was for the Centurion who Jesus commended. It’s not man-centered because patriarchal authority always brings our focus to the Father. When we honor patriarchal authority, we are honoring God because He is at the root of all authority delegated to men.
Man and woman are equal before God and both made in His image,yet God created each for a different function & purpose. We are each by design given various talents and giftings which – when brought together (in an earthly family or the family of God) – manifest the glory of God. It doesn’t mean that women have no authority; it means that the authority a woman has comes from her being submitted to proper headship. Either man or woman being out of order not only perverts God’s image in the world, but it serves as spiritual cholesterol in blocking the flow of God’s Spirit to the people.
God has turned His heart to man by extending mercy through the preaching of repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ. We turn our hearts back to Him when we repent from sin and believe/obey His words. This is how we honor Him as our Father.
We cannot expect God's blessing while we are in rebellion and out of order in our homes and churches. God is calling men after His own heart to rise up and take care of His people and He is also looking for Godly women who are able to undergird that authority.
My family watched the movie Courageous last weekend and I was struck by how it built upon these principles. Yet, it is a message few seemingly can hear. I have included below some behind the scenes videos which discuss the motivation behind this movie, as well as specific quotes in that regard.
As stated in the lyrics to the song, "Courageous", may the watchers become warriors as the men of God arise.
"The issue of fatherhood transcends all classes and all races. The importance of a father in the home is crucial to the health of the family structure."
"The reason that kids are like they are in school and the way they are in society is because the family unit is broken down and when the father is not there, everything else begins to crumble."
"What we need in our society today and in our churches are strong men who stand up for the Lord Jesus Christ."
"Courageous in many respects is calling to the part of men that want a battle to fight, a cause to stand for."
"Our hope is that this movie will result in kids in the next generation knowing the love of their earthly father, and in so doing discovering about the love of their Heavenly Father, but having a sense of identity, having a sense of security because they know who they are and they have the blessing of their father in their life."
"We want to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and that is why we are doing this movie."