Ruling in a Universal Kingdom--Part 7
Feb 04, 2012
Each of God's covenants were designed to give us a revelation of the Universal Kingdom.
Noah gave us the scope of the Kingdom. Abraham gives us the vision of those who would be called to implement it.
Moses then gave us the laws (rules; parameters) by which this would be implemented. In other words, it is not enough to achieve the goal; one must do it in a lawful manner according to the will of God.
David then gave us the distinction between the believers and the overcomers. All true believers are of Abraham, but the rulers come through David.
Finally, Jesus arrived as the Mediator of the New Covenant to modify what had been given through Moses. (More on this later.) Likewise, He narrowed down the lineage of the overcomers so that not just any seed of David would rule the Kingdom, but only those whose genealogy could be traced to Jesus Christ.
By the way, Dan Brown's theory that Jesus had children with Mary Magdalene is not biblical. The monarchs of Europe may fancy themselves as direct descendants of Jesus and Mary and thus constitute a "messianic seed," but their very actions over the centuries prove that they are not sons of Christ. The Jews of Jesus' day tried to lay claim to the Kingdom by being Abraham's physical seed, but Jesus told them in John 8:39-41 that physical genealogy is not as important as their actual deeds in the sight of God. The deeds of the European monarchs over the centuries have proven them to be something other than the sons of God.
The Bible thus presents the overcomers as the genuine inheritors of the Kingdom and the Scepter. Rev. 2:26 says,
(26) And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations.
Again, Rev. 3:21 says,
(21) He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
The New Covenant brought the culminating revelation to us that had begun with Noah. Instituting the New Covenant, as prophesied in Jer. 31:31, brought clarification and some alterations to the Mosaic covenant. These are fully explained in the book of Hebrews.
Insofar as this present study is concerned, the Old and New Covenants have differing methods of divine government. This is not because God changes, but because men must be ruled differently according to their own condition. This is fairly obvious, because the more lawless and corrupt a society is, the more restrictive the laws must be in order to maintain order. The Roman lawyer and statesman, Cicero, said, "The more corruption, the more the laws are multiplied."
A Chinese thinker a century ago, Kang Youwei, who was grounded in both Buddhism and Confucianism saw this as well.
"Confucius, according to Kang, saw history as a universal progress through three stages, each with its appropriate form of government: the Age of Disorder (rule by an absolute monarch), the Age of Approaching Peace (rule by a constitutional monarch), and the Age of Great Peace (rule by the people)." [A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, by Conrad Schirokauer]
Kang recognized that "disorder" required an absolute monarchy to restore order. When the people refrained from lawlessness and disorder, then the nation could be given more freedom. By extension, of course, if the people were all perfect, the only government necessary would be in keeping records and disbursing blessings. In fact, perfect people require no law enforcement at all, because the law is written on the hearts.
This is, in fact, the difference between the Old and New Covenant when dealing with forms of government. In the days of Moses, God first offered Israel what we now know as the New Covenant. He spoke the law to them, so that it could be written on their hearts. However, their fear made them unable to hear God directly, and so the law could not be written on their hearts at that time.
As an alternative, God gave them the law in tables of stone--an external law which then had to be applied to them as a disciplinary measure that went against their carnal nature. This then became a running battle of wills between the will of God and the will of man--spirit vs. flesh. Some of them, of course, had the faith to believe what God was speaking, and so the law began to be written on their hearts. The men of faith in Hebrews 11 gives us a brief listing of such people.
The majority, however, continued to follow the works of the flesh, contrary to the law of God. The Apostle Paul himself knew of this internal warfare between flesh and spirit, confessing in Rom. 7:22 and 25,
(22) For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man... (25) ... I myself with my (spiritual) mind am serving the law of God, but on the other hand, with my flesh the law of sin.
Later, Paul explains himself in Rom. 8:6 and 7,
(6) For the (carnal) mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, (7) because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.
When a nation or society (collectively) is lawless, government must exercise greater restrictions upon freedom in order to keep order and security. Such restrictions inevitably erode liberty. Hence, a nation ruled by the New Covenant is only possible if the citizens have the law written in their hearts and are led by the Spirit. All other nations can exist only under some level of Old Covenant government. Normally, as time passes, the people become increasingly lawless, and their governments become increasingly oppressive--until the government disintegrates, and hardships force the people to start over.
In the case of Israel, we see how their hostility toward God resulted in captivities in the time of the Judges, and ultimately brought about the disintegration of the nation. Old Covenant government is always temporary, due to two factors: (1) the majority of the people are carnal, and so their tendency is to be lawless; and (2) the government is run by people who are about as lawless as the rest of the people.
So it is obvious that when God set up the Old Covenant, it was a temporary alternative to the true will of God. The law was not the problem, for it set the righteous standard of behavior that God required of men. The problem is that the carnal mind of man "is hostile toward God" and "does not subject itself to the law of God," as Paul says.
It requires the action of the Holy Spirit to establish the New Covenant by writing the law in our hearts. The Holy Spirit is the agent by which the law written externally is internalized in our hearts. Under Pentecost, we received a downpayment of the Spirit (2 Cor. 5:5). This was a good start, but it was insufficient to complete the work in our hearts. It requires the fulness of the Spirit under the Feast of Tabernacles to complete this process. Paul prayed for this in Eph. 3:19, "that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God."
Individuals who are led by the Spirit in the Age of Pentecost may have the law written in their hearts. It is a gradual process that comes with daily experience. These are the ones God is training for rulership in the age to come. They will rule over those who, being yet carnal, are in need of such government to provide them with examples, training, and even discipline. The Great White Throne will issue the Court Order for all to be subject to the divine law and its disciplinary training.
This is the final part of a series titled "Ruling in a Universal Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones