No Pecking Order

Robert D Brinsmead

Just a further point on why the historical Yashua bar nasha (name in Aramaic or native tongue at the time) was against the Messiah concept.  It went deeper than a rejection of violence.  It was a rejection of the hierarchical or vertical order of human relationships.  When we stop to think about it, every creature in the natural animal order, functions through a pecking order of vertical relationships with the strong dominating, destroying or even eating those lower down the order.  It works the same whether it be dogs, horses, cows or chickens.  The group always structures itself with a pecking order.  I noticed this when I was a child.  Every cow in our herd had a place in the pecking order of the herd that was never contested, except when we brought a new cow into the heard.  This started many head to head contests until the new cow found its place in the pecking order.  If we got a new horse, you could hear them fighting all night until an adjusted pecking order was established.  I was the youngest of a large young family who had a dog who responded to our call.  But if there was a contest to call the dog, the dog instinctively obeyed whoever was more senior in ranks.  If we younger kids were playing with the dog, no matter how much fun it was for the dog (hide and seek, ball playing, and all that), if my father called out or whistled for the dog, he would leave us like a shot and go to our father.  There is always a pecking order in a pack of dogs.

But human relationships ( you shall love your neighbour as yourself) call for a horizontal order, and if this human order of mutual love prevails, it makes no distinction of age, wealth, education, race, religion or anything else.  Love functions on a horizontal order of mutual acceptance and respect despite any diversity or differences.

From ancient times, society tended to create kings or some form of supreme leader at the top of what Disraeli called “the greasy pole.”  In Egypt and many other cultures, the monarch was regarded as some kind of incarnation, or as the Hindus would say, an avatar of God.  We see this exhibited in that remnant of Alexander’s empire, the Grecian Seleucid kingdom (what Daniel 11 calls “the king of the north”) based in Syria.  There were four notable kings in this line:  One was called (or called himself) Antiochus Magnus, another Antiochus Theos, another Antochus Soter, and if those titles meaning Great, God, Saviour were not enough, the most vile Ruler of them all called himself Antiochus Ephiphanes – meaning that he was the very epiphany of the Divine Person, a kind of Greek incarnation like the Christian incarnation of God in Jesus.  But when we look at the Sermon on the Mount we see that Jesus rejected all this exclusivity of imputing the role of avatar to one supreme person who was at the top of some giant Amway pyramid.  He simply said, “Ye (plural) are the light of the world”) and went on to show how all of us are equally called to be the incarnation or the avatar of God who is Unconditional Love.

So according to Jesus there can be no pecking order, no hierarchy, no pyramid of importance (much less domination and destruction of lesser mortals) in the kingdom of God.  “Call no man your father…. All of you are brethren” with no superior or inferiors.  This is a human order of mutually relating on a horizontal level, not loving down to someone (that’s patronizing) and not loving up to someone( idolatrous deference), which makes love impossible.  No one is to be looked up to, and much less can claim to be uniquely or exclusively the avatar of God.  Ghandi was right when he said, “I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus.  I should not care if it was proved by someone that the man called Jesus never lived, and that what was narrated in the Gospels was a figment of the writer’s imagination [some of it surely was].  For the Sermon on the Mount would still be true to me.”  Gandhi was an avatar of God, that’s for sure!  But a flawed avatar in this flawed created order.

Gandhi got what Christianity did not get, namely, that what is of supreme importance is what is said, not who is supposed to have said it.  In Christian history, the Who was turned into the great Icon that effectively buried the What.