Ruling in a Universal Kingdom--Part 5
Feb 02, 2012
To rule a nation properly, one cannot take a few of God's laws and try to patch up the existing system of man's laws. For instance, one cannot utilize the law of restitution and get rid of the prison system without also enforcing the law that mandates the death penalty for escaping or refusing to work off the debt owed to the victim.
Neither can one be tolerant of diverse religious beliefs apart from enforcing one law for the whole land. If someone wants to immigrate to the Kingdom nation, he cannot bring with him any notion that human sacrifice is good and acceptable. Neither can he bring with him other gods, but must swear allegiance to the King and His law. In other words, he must truly have faith in Jesus Christ in the biblical sense.
For the same reason, the Kingdom of God is a Theocracy, not a democracy. No citizen has the right to change its laws or to decide for himself that Jesus Christ is unjust in His ways. This argument was expressed by Absalom in his revolt against David--the type of Christ--in 2 Sam. 15:1-6. How often have I heard this basic argument from Christians today, who have tried to convince me that the laws that Jesus Christ gave to Moses are unjust.
I may not always know the explanation of His laws, nor how to apply them in a New Covenant setting, but I would never charge Christ with injustice. If there appears to be injustice in the law, it is only because I have not yet understood it by the mind of Christ.
When men disagree with God's law, it seems that inevitably they object most to the law of stubborn and rebellious children found in Deut. 21:18-21. The law says that they are to be executed, and so parents are horrified at such divine justice. Their horror is based on the misunderstanding that once the child is brought to court, he must be executed even if he repents. Somehow the court date itself seems to serve as a divine deadline in their minds.
This idea is a relic of the church teaching that death itself is a divine deadline for people to believe. Once they are brought to the divine court at the Great White Throne, they say, there is no further opportunity to repent and to be saved. Nothing can be further from the truth. At the Great White Throne, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him as Lord. All men will be saved on that day, other than those who were saved previously during their life time. Of course, they will still have to undergo discipline ("the lake of fire") in order to grow into spiritual maturity--as all of us must. That is the ultimate purpose of divine judgment.
So also with rebellious children in a Kingdom setting on earth. The threat of death is meant to eradicate the stubbornness and rebelliousness from the child. It is only when this does not work that the child may be executed as a last resort. For this reason we find no biblical example of any children actually being executed under this law. It only happened on a national scale, when the rebellious children of Israel continually refused to submit to the divine law for many centuries. When they had continuously refused to hear the warnings of the prophets (acting as judges), God finally sent in the executioners of the law--the Assyrians and Babylonians--to destroy the nation and deport the survivors to other lands.
Having said that, this law does not give parents the right to kill their own children. The law commands the parents to bring the child to court, where he is made to understand the full consequences of his rebellion. If the child still refuses to repent, Deut. 21:21 says, "then all the men of his city shall stone him to death." The sentence is executed by people other than the parents.
We often hear today about so-called "honor killings" among certain Muslims and Hindus. This is where a father might kill his daughter for dishonoring the family.
Such a practice is outlawed in Scripture. In fact, revenge itself is outlawed. Revenge is where men take the law into their own hands and decide to execute "justice" as they see fit. God says, "Vengeance is mine" (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). Again, in Lev. 19:18, God says, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge."
Godly vengeance is reserved for the divine court to decide. Any dispute is to be decided by the biblical judges who know the Lawgiver and understand the intent of each law. In fact, the Hebrew word for vengeance is naqam, which is a homonym of nacham, "comforter." The "avenger of blood" in the Old Testament is the Comforter in the New Testament. He is your guardian, the one given power of attorney to guide you and help you in your disputes in life.
Translating naqam as "vengeance" does not do justice to this concept of law, because men have given themselves the right to apply the law by the understanding (or motive) of the carnal mind. The earthly justice system, established in the time of Moses, authorized the judges to act in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lawgiver. Hence, when the earthly court made a ruling, it was claimed to be the ruling that the Holy Spirit had given to them.
The fact that unjust judges later misunderstood the law and/or were bribed to make unjust rulings did nothing to malign the perfection of the law itself. David said, "The law of the Lord is perfect" (Ps. 19:7). Again, he says in verse 9, "the judgments of the Lord are true; they are altogether righteous (just)."
When the law is misapplied or misunderstood, the problem is in men, not in God. It is therefore not permitted in the Kingdom of God to disagree with Jesus Christ and His law, but to seek understanding when we think that a law is unjust.
If we have any aspiration of ruling in the Kingdom of God, we must have the mind of Christ. This mind is pictured in the Old Testament psalms, especially those written by David--the type of Christ. David was the specific inheritor of the promise given to Judah in Gen. 49:10, "The Scepter shall not depart from Judah."
The New Testament presents Jesus Christ as the "son of David" (Matt. 21:15). In other words, He was the Heir to the throne of David. For this reason, if we aspire to rule in the Kingdom, we must be of His seed. Though Jesus died childless in the natural sense, He brought many sons into glory (Heb. 2:10). This was prophesied in Isaiah 53:10, where we read that "if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring."
Hence, when David received the promise, all others of Judah no longer qualified to rule. David's kingship narrowed the list to him and his offspring. Then when Jesus Christ came, He was made the specific Heir to the throne as well, and the list of qualified rulers narrowed again. Since Jesus' appearance, only those who are Christ's offspring are qualified to rule. It is for this reason that the qualifications to rule in the Kingdom (Rev. 5:10 and 20:6) are based upon one's relationship with Jesus Christ, and not with either Judah or David.
These are the "sons of God." More than that, they are mature sons. One may be "born again" as a son of God through a Passover experience (justification by faith in the blood of the Lamb), but children are no different from servants as long as they are minors (Gal. 4:1). One must grow up through the discipline of Pentecost, as the law is written on the heart through hearing His voice. Pentecost trains and matures the sons of God for the inheritance of the feast of Tabernacles.
This is the fifth part of a series titled "Ruling in a Universal Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones