The Four Elements of a Kingdom--Part 5
May 13, 2008
So far we have dealt in some detail with the first two elements of the Kingdom of God--the King and the citizens. The laws and the territory yet remain. But I have already written so much on the laws of the Kingdom that I will not spend much time on that.
The laws of the Kingdom encompass everything that God says. It is synonymous with the Word, which itself is a revelation of His character. It is the standard by which all righteousness is measured. Where we fall short of it, the Law-Word provides contrast with the carnal mind of man and shows us the way to make the correction in our thoughts and actions.
Since God is the Creator, He owns all men along with everything else that He has created. For this reason, He has every right to demand obedience from those whose carnal minds rebel against His will. As long as there are lawless men in the world, there will be a law to govern them. Paul tells us in 1 Tim. 1:8-11,
" (8) But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, (9) realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, and for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers (10) and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, (11) according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted."
Years ago I heard a radio preacher quote this, and his comment was: "Since the law is made for the lawless, and I am a Christian, I am not under the law." He meant by this that he did not have to abide by the law of God because he was a Christian! But by his own words, he confessed to being lawless--and therefore the law was made for people just like him. Perhaps he ought to re-read Jesus' words to the Christian miracle-workers in Matt. 7:23, "Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness."
The law was made to govern lawlessness. As long as lawlessness exists on the earth, the law has not yet been put away. The law will only become irrelevant when it is written on the hearts of every man, so that all are in perfect conformity to the mind of Christ. At that point, there will be no more need for the law, because everyone will love God and their neighbors with the perfect love of God. There will be no injustice for the law to judge.
At the same time, authority itself will become irrelevant, as I showed in my book, Old and New Covenant Marriage. God will not have to command anyone to do anything, because all will do the will of God by nature instinctively. That day will surely come, but it is not of concern to us today. We live in a lawless time, and the law is therefore necessary not only to restrain sin but to set the standard of righteousness.
As I have already shown, the Kingdom of God is portrayed Scripturally as being an imperfect place, having in it the children of wickedness, alongside the righteous. For this reason, the law is necessary. In fact, when Jesus said to gather the tares to be burned (Matt. 13:30), He was speaking of the judgment of the law that was to be enforced upon the "tares." It was not to be a literal fire, though that is the metaphor. Rather, Jesus was speaking of the judgment of the "fiery law" (Deut. 33:2).
This fiery law comes from the throne itself, which is pictured as a fire in Dan. 7:9. The throne upon which the Ancient of Days sits is the Ark of the Covenant, where the presence of God rested (Ex. 25:22) and from which He judged Israel since the days of Moses. In the Ark were the tables of the law (Ex. 25:16).
Hence, this is the source of the "river of fire" in Dan. 7:10, which flows out from the throne to judge all the people being raised at the time of the resurrection. John sees the river forming a "lake of fire" in Rev. 20:14. The law of God does not prescribe torture for any sin, of course. The law itself is the "fire." For instance, in Luke 12:47-49, Jesus spoke of the "fire" in terms of a beating with few or many stripes, according to the law in Deut. 25:1-3. The fire was the judgment of the law, but Jesus said nothing about burning people.
We are at the end of the Pentecostal Age and are transitioning into the Age of Tabernacles. This time is pictured in the Old Testament change from King Saul to King David. King Saul, of course, was the type of the Church under Pentecost, since he was crowned on the day of wheat harvest (1 Sam. 12:17), which was Pentecost.
John tells us that there is to be a "first resurrection" at this time (Rev. 20:1-6). Its purpose is to raise the overcomers from the dead to reign with Him a thousand years. It is a partial resurrection, for "the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed" (Rev. 20:5). This is the next major step in the establishment of the Kingdom of God, for we are transitioning from the rebellious rule of King Saul (the leavened Church of Pentecost) into the anointed rule of King David, the overcomer of Tabernacles.
Overlaid upon this type, and approaching the topic from another viewpoint, is the transition from war to peace. This is pictured in the transition from King David to King Solomon. David was a man of war; Solomon's name is from the Hebrew word shalom, which means "peace."
The timing of these two ages is typified in the Tabernacle of Moses, where the Holy Place was 20 x 10 x 10 cubits, for a total of 2,000 cubic cubits. It represents 2,000 years. The Most Holy Place, however, was a cube of 10 x 10 x 10, for a total of 1,000 cubic cubits.
The Holy Place represents the feast of Pentecost, while the Most Holy Place represents the feast of Tabernacles. (The outer court represents the first feast, Passover.)
Thus, the Age of Pentecost is 2,000 years, while the Age of Tabernacles is said to be 1,000 years long.
But during this Age of Tabernacles, only a few will become the manifested Sons of God. These are called to RULE those who are not yet perfected. Many from all nations will come in those years to learn the law of the Lord (Isaiah 2:2-4). They will need the law, because most of humanity will still be imperfect and will therefore need the divine standard of measure to know His will.
So the law will be a necessity, Isaiah says, during the Age to come. Then at the end of that Age is the final resurrection, in which the rest of the dead are raised (Rev. 20:12). In this resurrection, Jesus tells us in John 5:28, 29, there will be both believers and unbelievers who are raised. Obviously, the unbelievers will be raised for judgment according to the "fiery law." But Jesus also speaks of believers who will be raised at that time. These are the ones who did not qualify as overcomers for the first resurrection. Yet they are given "life" in this general resurrection at the same time that the unbelievers are judged (Luke 12:46).
The law is obviously yet in force at the time of the Great White Throne judgment. If there were no law, there could be no judgment, for "where there is no law, neither is there violation" (Rom. 4:15). There is no judgment without law. But there is judgment; therefore, the law is yet in force.
The eonian judgment in the lake of fire will be a time when former unbelievers will learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). It will be the job of the believers to teach them the law and cause them to mature in Christ. This is the primary purpose of their authority and rulership in that day. The fiery law will be written on their hearts, so that when the great Creation Jubilee arrives, all may return to their inheritance that was lost in Adam.
This is the fifth part of a series titled "The Four Elements of a Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones