The Elijah Task--Part 3
Apr 23, 2009
The governments of men generally believe the principle of self-interest. It is the core principle of most Nationalism and Patriotism as well. "What's good for America" is right; and doing what might be good for other countries would be political suicide.
I suppose the ethics of this self-interest viewpoint depends on whether we are talking about secular politics or Christianity. For Christians, the foundational ethical principle ought to be, according to the old song, "Jesus and others and you." In that order. Love itself is based upon preference for other people, rather than one's self. If marriages always functioned on the principle of self-interest, marriage would be rather sterile and businesslike.
One thing I have observed over the years is that Truth is universal. In other words, a principle is true if it is applicable on more than one level. When a principle is exclusive to one area of life, it is not real Truth, regardless of how many people may believe it.
Love is biblically classified as Truth. But when love is limited to marriage, family, and personal relationships, all other people suffer who remain outside the boundaries of expressed love. While it is true that the highest expressions of love must be exclusive (such as sexual relations between husband and wife), it is equally true that they must show love to others as well. Love of one's immediate family should not mean that one hates everyone else or that one may mistreat all others.
To put it another way, should we throw the children's food to the dogs? No, but even the dogs get the leftovers. We do not hate dogs just because we love children.
Towns have sports rivalries, and everyone is expected to be loyal to the local team. People are often proud of living in their own State or among their own Tribe. These are just mini-versions of Nationalism. Is it wrong to love one's country? Of course not. As long as one does not overstep the boundaries set by Jesus Christ.
In Luke 4:25-28 Jesus enraged His own people by suggesting that Elijah and Elisha both ministered to non-Israelite people, and even passed up all the widows and lepers in Israel. What does this tell us about Love and self-interest?
Prospective Overcomers are in training to rule the world when the Kingdom finds its territorial expression in the Age to come. Overcomers past and present should be practicing in their own life time in order to be found worthy to rule in a greater way later. So how should we act today? Should we limit our Love to "our own" or should we think globally?
If you were sitting on a World Court in the Age to come, could we count on you to rule in favor of your own country, regardless of who was right and who was wrong? Would you function by the principle of self-interest on the grounds of Patriotism, Nationalism, or Tribalism? If you were a Presbyterian or Lutheran, would you always rule in favor of your own denomination, in spite of the evidence?
The tribe of Benjamin ran into this problem of Tribalism in Judges 19-21. This is a biblical example of the theme of that book, stated in Judges 21:25,
"In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
In other words, people did what was in their own best interest. In this particular example given in the book of Judges, some depraved men of the tribe of Benjamin committed rape and murder upon a Levite's concubine. The Levite appealed to the other tribes for justice, and this brought the nation to civil war. The men of Benjamin did not care about justice as much as they cared about tribal loyalty.
Did the tribe of Benjamin do right in this way? No, of course not. The other tribes should have approached them with more humility, certainly, but in no way does this exonerate the men of Benjamin.
As we enter this time of the Moses-Elijah ministry, one of the most important "Moses" principles (of law) is impartial justice. This does not mean impersonal or merciless justice. It simply means that one should not receive an indulgence to commit sin if the man has money, or is a tribal member, or "one of us." We must learn to think beyond the box in which we were born.
The Kingdom of God is said to be a stone that grows until it fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35). Although it began with the single nation of Israel, it does not end there. God called Abraham to be a blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:3). Those of his descendants who failed to be a proper conduit of blessing were disqualified from the calling of God. Conversely, those NOT of Abraham's genealogical descent but who DID bless others are certainly rewarded with the calling of Abraham.
God was the first Globalist, and He has not changed His intent to subdue all of His creation in the end. Babylon has counterfeited God's idea according to their own self-interest principle, and they now call it "Globalism." It is NOT true Globalism, however, because their hidden purpose is to make all OTHER men equal in slavery, while their "elite" aristocracy retains the right to be served.
Zionism, too, blatantly advocates self-interest and is offended when anyone disagrees with their "right" to rule the world as God's chosen unbelievers.
The Elijah Task is a global ministry to "restore all things" and to bring all things under the authority of Jesus Christ. It is not a ministry to oppress anyone or to make people unequal. In fact, the Overcomers are called to rule according to Jesus' definition of rulership. It is given in Matthew 20:25-28,
" (25) But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. (26) It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, (27) and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; (28) just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many'."
This is another way of saying, "You will not rule in the Kingdom unless you do so with a servant's heart, even to the point where you are willing to give your life for others."
The Apostle Paul goes further, defining the Love of God in Romans 5:7, 8,
" (7) For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die, (8) But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Men of all religions would die for their leaders or for righteous causes. But who would die for an enemy? Only Jesus would do such a thing--and those who follow His example. So when our government would rather kill their enemies than to give their lives for their enemies, when Patriots are willing only to give their lives for their own country or families or tribes, how are we any different from anyone else? Would Jesus use the water torture upon His enemies? No, but former Vice President Dick Cheney is out there extolling the virtues of waterboarding even today. He believed in stripping prisoners naked and forcing them to commit homosexual acts or to stand naked while Lyndie England was photographed pointing at their genitals.
Mr. Cheney does not believe Jesus. He actively promotes degradation, and immoral behavior in the name of self-interest, and is proud of it. Unfortunately, all of us Americans share the guilt in the eyes of the world.
So let us be Christians first. Our loyalty should be to Jesus, and our love and actions should match our loyalty.
This is the third part of a series titled "The Elijah Task." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones