Contrasting the Kingdom with other forms of government
May 06, 2010
I'm not sure where this will go, but I thought I would jot down a few thoughts in regard to the Kingdom of God so that we may perhaps get a little better picture of it by contrasting it with Democracy and with a Christian Republic.
It all starts with the First Commandment: "You shall have no other gods before Me."
This is based upon Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Because God created this universe, He owns it. If He owns it, He has certain rights of ownership. His first right is to make rules or laws and expect obedience.
A Democracy shifts the right of ownership to the people, making them the gods with the right of legislating laws according to their preference. Any law of God that they find disagreeable, they may alter or abolish at will.
A Christian Nation gives lip service to God's right, but in practice they reinterpret God's laws or set them aside at will in favor of their own ideas of right and wrong. They interpret according to the idols of their heart, which is a violation of the Second Commandment: "You shall not make to yourselves any graven image." They will start their legislative sessions with prayer and then pretty much do as they wish.
The Kingdom of God is based upon the New Covenant, which says, "everyone will know Me, from the least to the greatest," and "no man will have to teach his neighbor." In other words, we reach this ideal point in the Kingdom by the eradication of all heart idols. No one will misunderstand the laws of God. The law will be written in their hearts, so all will know the law and its purpose or intent, because all will know the mind and will of God.
Yet there is an early stage of the Kingdom of God that is more relevant to us today. It is where the rulers know the mind of God perfectly, but the ordinary citizens must yet be taught. This is the place we will reach at the second appearance of Christ. The next thousand years of the Tabernacles Age will be a time where the overcomers will rule, and the rest of humanity will come to learn of His ways (Isaiah 2:2-4).
In other words, there will still be sin, injustice, and misunderstanding in the world. It will not yet be an ideal place. The New Covenant will move forward, but it will not reach its completion until the law is written on every heart fully, and every man is subject to the rule of Christ, not by compulsion, but by absolute, whole-hearted, and joyful agreement.
Obviously, we still have a long ways to go, so my teaching job is not yet in jeopardy.
The first two Commandments, then, give us the basic principle on which is based the government of the Kingdom of God. In the first 6,000 years of history, God has been training leaders for the 7th Sabbath millennium. Like the 7th day, the 7th millennium is a time of release from the bondage of Babylon so that men have time to learn the ways of God.
Isaiah 58:13 says that it is a time where we cease from seeking our own pleasure and speaking our own words. Hebrews 4:10 clarifies this, saying,
"For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His."
In other words, to enter into God's rest (the Jubilee rest, which is the highest form of Sabbath) is to do as Jesus did. Jesus did only what He saw His Father do. He spoke only what His father spoke. He said that He did NOTHING other than that. In other words, He functioned, as John said in Rev. 3:14, as the Amen of God. Everything He did and said was just an Amen, an affirmation of the Father. That is what it really means to cease from our own works and stop speaking our own words.
It is an absolute REST, going beyond the lower forms of rest such as a Sabbath day or a Sabbath year of land rest.
We have been living in the day of leadership training for The Age to come. It is NOT a do-nothing time. It is on-the-job training. We walk this out in our daily lives. There is therefore an immediate practical value in what we do and say, for it has an effect upon our environment. Yet it is also a time of growth and development for The Age to come.
As long as we do not understand the law of God, we do not yet know His will. All that He has ever spoken has been an expression of His mind and will. Every expression of His will is a law to us. At first, we may disagree with some of His laws. That is because we do not yet understand His mind. Yet the true believer will submit to His law even if he cannot subscribe to it fully. His faith in the goodness and rightness of God is sufficient during times of disagreement. But he will continue to seek to know God until he reaches that point of understanding where he can agree wholeheartedly and thereby come to a position of Rest and inner peace.
The overcomers (rulers) in The Age to come are those who have reached some point of agreement with God, knowing Him and rejoicing in His character. In other words, they are "one" with Him. Now, of course, we are all still developing that relationship, and we continue to learn throughout our lives. I do not think that very many (if any at all) reach the point of perfection in all things. But it is a matter of "enduring to the end," as the book of Hebrews tells us, and not falling away or giving up.
The First Resurrection, I believe, will bring back the overcomers from past ages to rule on the earth and to teach humanity the ways of God. Their training was not just to benefit them personally so that they could retire on a cloud. Their training was to prepare them for service in The Age to come.
It is unfortunate that most Bible translations hide the concept of "The Age" by translating it "eternal" or "everlasting." The Bible speaks often of "The Age," and it referred to the Sabbath Millennium, also called the Messianic Age. This concept was a Hebrew world view, but when the Kingdom was overwhelmed by those of Greek culture, it was largely forgotten. The Hebrew concept nearly died out by the early second century.
The problem was compounded in later years when aionian life, "Life in The Age," was translated in Latin (aeternas) to mean eternal life, making it synonymous with immortality. It originally meant that one would receive immortality in The Age--that is, a person would be raised in the First Resurrection at the beginning of The Age so that he could enjoy immortal life a thousand years before the rest of humanity was raised in the general resurrection. But the Latin Church came to see it as a quality of life--that is, the state of immortality itself, without regard to any time frame.
By dropping the time factor, "eternal life" was thought of as the condition of people in heaven. When you die, you are transferred to Heaven's Retirement Home, where you can amuse yourself by learning to play the harp in a nanosecond. Other religions have other concepts of heaven.
Fortunately for us, the New Testament was written while the Church still had its Hebrew thought patterns. The main ideas that needed correction were (1) that a person was saved by trying really hard to be obedient to the law; and (2) that God loved Hebrew people more than others and had "chosen" them according to their genealogy.
Yet the change from aionian to aeternas probably did the most damage to the understanding of Timing and the distinction between the two resurrections. It hid the Doctrine of the Ages and diminished our understanding of times and seasons. By correcting this, we can understand the job description of the overcomers in The Age to come. The time to prepare is now.
Dr. Stephen Jones