Ruling in a Universal Kingdom--Part 4
Feb 01, 2012
No one is qualified to rule in the Universal Kingdom unless he has the faith of Abraham (Gal. 3:7) and does his works (John 8:39). And so we read in Gen. 15:6,
(6) Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
What word did Abraham actually believe? In Gen. 15:5 it was that his descendants would become as numerous as the stars of heaven. To me, that speaks of Universal Reconciliation, not merely that they would number in the millions or even billions. The prophets speak of this, and the New Testament clarifies the number as "all."
Abraham's promise shows us first that faith is the key to being "reckoned" righteous. But by no means does this limit salvation to Abraham's physical descendants. If men in his genealogy fail to do the works of Abraham, they are not reckoned as Abraham's seed.
When Yahweh appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, he received the incarnated Yahweh with hospitality (Gen. 18:1). But when Yahweh appeared again many years later, "those who were His own did not received Him" (John 1:11). Instead, they sought to kill him. Jesus told them in John 8:39-41,
(39) ... If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. (40) But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. (41) You are doing the deeds of your father.
Jesus was obviously not impressed with their genealogy. The promise to Abraham was given to those who were truly the seed of Abraham--those who had his faith and did what he did.
When God first gave the promise to Abraham, He did not limit the promise to Abraham nor to his descendants. His calling was not to hoard the divine blessings for themselves, but to dispense them freely. "And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:3).
Abraham's calling, then, was certainly exclusive, because only those with his faith could have the calling to do his work of dispensing those blessings. However, the recipients of those blessings were not limited to Abraham's family, but to "all the families of the earth." This is the calling that Abraham believed and accepted. Anyone who claims to be of the seed of Abraham, yet does not wish to dispense those blessings to all, is not a true son of Abraham.
Every calling carries with it a specific authority to carry out that calling. Hence, all true sons of Abraham have that faith and prove it by being a blessing to all families of the earth. This is why the ones who rejected Jesus in the New Testament were "of the devil," rather than being children of Abraham. The Talmudic idea that non-Jews have "satanic souls" and are unworthy to be blessed is proof that they are not of Abraham's seed in the biblical sense.
In fact, the Law itself never made genealogy the basis for citizenship among the tribes of Israel. If genealogical Israelites violated certain laws, they could be deprived of citizenship. One such prominent law is found in Lev. 17:1-7. It is the law of sacrifice. If any man sacrificed an animal within or outside the grounds of the tabernacle/temple, he was required "to present it as an offering to the Lord" (vs. 4). If he did not do so, but treated it like any other animal being killed for secular purposes, "that man shall be cut off from among his people."
In other words, if a man of Judah, having the purest genealogy, violates this law, he would lose his status as a Judahite. This makes genealogy subordinate to the law. The law always trumps genealogy. Jesus came as "the Lamb of God" (John 1:29) that was to be killed at Passover. John 19:15-18 makes it clear that the priests killed this Sacrifice--as prophesied in the law.
The question, however, is what they did with this Sacrifice. Did they believe Him to be the Lamb of God? Did they treat His death as the sacrifice for the sin of the world? No. That is the problem. They violated the law of sacrifice and were thus "cut off" from among their people--in this case, the tribe of Judah.
Only those who accepted His sacrifice and consecrated that sacrifice to God could remain citizens of Judah. Just because those believers were a tiny minority of the tribe does not disqualify them from carrying the name of the tribe. The Judge of the whole earth is not swayed by numbers. Exodus 23:2 says to the judges, "You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil... so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice."
For this reason, only those who had faith that Jesus was the sacrifice for sin remained of the tribe of Judah. They were the true "Jews" of Romans 2:29. Though the majority continued to claim to be Judahites, or "Jews," their claim was not valid in the sight of God, but only among men.
By extension, then, the true members of the tribe of Judah, whether genealogical ("natural") or engrafted into the tribe later, are the genuine seed of Abraham. Paul makes it clear that it requires faith, and that genuine faith is manifested by actions.
Paul's teachings were hotly opposed by many of the Jewish Christians in his day, who strove to retain their reputation and position among the Jews who had been cut off for violating the law of sacrifice. It is plain that they did not understand the law as well as they thought. Paul, however, had spent time in Arabia (Gal. 1:17), no doubt at Mount Sinai (Gal. 4:25) to obtain a new revelation of the law and of the covenant. His revelation was set forth in his letter to the Galatians, as he disputed with the Jewish Christians who were trying to add Jesus to the Old Covenant.
For a complete study of this, see my commentary, The Book of Galatians: Paul Corrects the Distorted Gospel.
The main issue at stake in this dispute was whether the non-Jewish Christians had equal citizenship rights as a Jewish Christian. The Jews had thought of non-Jews as "dogs," and they had kept proselytes in the outer court of the temple with the women. A wall divided the court for that purpose. It read,
"No gentile may enter beyond the dividing wall into the court around the Holy Place; whoever is caught will be to blame for his subsequent death."
Paul was adamant that this wall of partition had been demolished by Christ Himself (Eph. 2:14), for such a wall was never prescribed either by Moses (for the tabernacle) nor by David and Solomon (for the temple). It was a mere tradition of men.
In order for us to fulfill the Abrahamic calling and be a blessing to all families of the earth, it is necessary to take heed to Paul's view rather than the view of his opponents.
As for the manner of fulfilling this calling, one must read the rest of the laws. For instance, we are often faced with immigration problems, because our Babylonian system has created severe economic problems in many countries. People searching for a better life want to come to America and other Western nations, and many come illegally. The underlying problem is that the leaders of Babylon have failed to implement the Abrahamic blessing, because they have rejected the divine law and God's way of doing things.
Perhaps the most important failure is to implement the First Commandment: "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Ex. 20:3). Citizenship in the Kingdom is based upon their faith in Jesus Christ and their acceptance of Him as their King.
This is the fourth part of a series titled "Ruling in a Universal Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones