The First Commandment
Moses wrote the Ten Commandments upon tablets of stone and then wrote them again in his book of Exodus. Years later he repeated them to Israel in his series of speeches, which were compiled in a book called “Deuteronomy.” Deut. 5:5-7 says,
5 .... He said, 6 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 7 You shall have no other gods before Me.
Verse 6 identified Yahweh as the only true Source of all legitimate law. He is the God who brought Israel out of Egypt. If the laws of any other god or man contradict or misunderstand the law of Yahweh, then the rights of God or of men are violated, and injustice is enshrined among the nations.
God’s Rights as the Redeemer
Verse 6 gives us the lawful reason why God has a divine right to rule the nation and to establish Israel’s national standard of righteousness. He redeemed His first-born son who had been enslaved in Egypt. Later, in Deut. 7:8, Moses said, “the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery.”
The laws of redemption make it clear that a redeemed slave must serve his redeemer who bought him, saying in Lev. 25:40,
40 He shall serve with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of Jubilee.
Hence, Israel was to serve the God who had redeemed them from slavery. Leviticus 25:42 gives the reason,
42 For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt.
The laws of redemption establish God's right to rule Israel and expect obedience, as any man would expect from his servant. God has asserted His divine right to rule Israel according to the laws of redemption, but, of course, God had a prior right to rule all men, based upon His creation rights. God owns what He has created.
Either way, the First Commandment is as relevant today as it was in Moses' time. The New Testament Church was brought out of Judaism—another house of bondage. God redeemed this Church, and therefore He has the same right to be obeyed. As the baptism of fire penetrates the hearts of believers, they learn obedience until they arrive step by step to the place where the law is written fully in their heart, and they are in full agreement with God. Then they are no longer servants, but free sons.
No longer do they serve God out of obedience, but comply by agreement because it is part of their nature. It is God's goal to bring us to spiritual maturity, where God no longer needs to command us to do things against the will of our human nature. The reconciliation of all things is accomplished when there is no more resistance to His will (i.e., His law).
In the Kingdom of God there is no right to serve other gods or any laws that contradict the law of Yahweh as interpreted and applied by Jesus Christ. If one wishes to become a citizen of the Kingdom of God, he or she must swear allegiance to Jesus Christ with the understanding that His laws must be obeyed.
In essence, to obtain citizenship in the Kingdom of God, one must make a commitment even as Ruth did when she said in Ruth 1:16, “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” This is the essential requirement for Kingdom citizenship, and to maintain such citizenship one must comply with the laws of the Kingdom. Violation of the law will be judged and corrected.
Within that context, men have freedom of conscience. But one cannot use conscience as an excuse to break the law. Such lawbreakers are Kingdom criminals. There is to be one law for the whole nation, and all men are equally bound to be obedient to the law of God. But men have the right to be wrong in doctrinal matters, as long as they do not violate the First Commandment.
The Kingdom of God has never been instituted among nations, not even in the time of Moses or Joshua. No nation has ever fully complied with the laws of God. Israel under Moses came nearest to achieving the standard of the Kingdom of God, but even that generation was in a state of constant rebellion, as the record shows. The problem is that the carnal mind of man is in a subconscious state of war against the law of God (Romans 7:23). Hence, even though “the law of the Lord is perfect” (Psalm 19:7), the tendency of fallen man is to seek their own way and live by their own standards of conduct.
Meanwhile, as Jesus said, the Kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21), for it yet awaits the outward manifestation among organized nations. God works within the hearts of men by His Spirit, so that each may live by the laws of the Kingdom of God as fully as their spiritual maturity allows.
In past centuries men have attempted to institute biblical laws as the basis of society with limited success. Early American laws often included a biblical reference, as did the laws of King Alfred the Great, who ruled England in the late tenth century. But in order for a nation to be ruled by such laws, the people must know and agree with those laws. The problem has always been that rebellion lies in the heart of man, which tempts him to violate those laws in order to benefit himself or satisfy his own carnal desires.
At the heart of the problem since Adam is man’s carnal tendency to act as if he is god. He thinks he has the right to make his own laws, thereby presuming that he is wiser than God.
Another problem is that when any nation is formed, it already includes many non-believers among them. Even if one might gather together a multitude of true believers, each desiring to follow King Jesus and His laws, they invariably beget many children who rebel and do not think God has the right to be obeyed. Even Israel itself, which saw all the miraculous works of God in the wilderness, found itself with this problem, for we read in Judges 2:10-12,
10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. 11 Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals, 12 and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods ….
If Israel itself was incapable of establishing the Kingdom of God—though they were delivered with great miracles and were led by Moses and Joshua—how then could any other nation do better? Indeed, no other nation has done better. Hence, the Apostle Paul himself set forth a pessimistic view of the carnal man in the first few chapters of Romans.
Nonetheless, in spite of the weakness of man and his natural tendency toward rebellion, Christ admonishes us to hold the principles of the Kingdom within our hearts. We are to learn these things, and when we are led by the Spirit, the laws of God are written upon our hearts.
Those who are faithful, though they are only a remnant, are being drawn from each generation until that day of the first resurrection, when they shall receive the Kingdom as their inheritance. Then they shall rule with Christ (Revelation 20:4-6). As part of His government, they will be used to train others in the ways of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God will then emerge out of the hearts of the overcoming remnant into the community. God will establish a perfect government with immortal rulers and perfect laws, even though the vast majority of citizens are yet imperfect and mortal. At first a few nations will provide the example for the rest of the world, and soon many nations will send representatives to learn of God’s ways, so that they may duplicate it in their own nations (Isaiah 2:3).
These nations will be able to learn the mind of God through those immortal, incorruptible leaders. They will know how to interpret the law as Jesus would interpret it. All other doctrinal disagreements will be resolved as well over time.
Daniel 2:35 prophesies of the Kingdom of God, pictured as a Stone that will grow into a “mountain range” (Concordant Version) until it fills the whole earth. A mountain is a kingdom, and so a mountain range is a series of kingdoms. In this case, Daniel prophesies of the Kingdom of God that progresses until it includes all nations and fills the whole earth.
Which God is King of the Earth?
By definition, such a Kingdom cannot be ruled by many gods, but only by the one God of Heaven, which we believe to be the same God that brought Israel out of Egypt in the days of Moses. This God, identified as Yahweh in Exodus 6:2, later came to earth in the form of a man called Jesus Christ (Yeshua), for it was prophesied in Exodus 15:2,
2 Yahweh is my strength and song, and He has become my Yeshua; this is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will extol Him.
The prophet Isaiah references this in Isaiah 12:1-3, adding that we were to “draw water from the springs of Yeshua.” Jesus quoted this in John 7:38, applying it to Himself. Even when Jesus was a baby, Simeon understood that the Messiah’s name would be Yeshua, for he read the prophecies about “salvation” (yeshua) and knew that the Scriptures had named the Messiah. Hence, when he finally saw Jesus in the temple and heard that He was being named Yeshua, he said in Luke 2:29, 30,
29 Now, Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; 30 for my eyes have seen Thy Yeshua.
Jesus Himself often made use of the meaning of His name. He told the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:22, “Yeshua is from the Judeans.” After Jesus invited Himself to the home of Zaccheus, the tax collector repented of his theft, and Jesus said in Luke 19:9, “Today salvation [Yeshua] has come to this house.” In each case, Jesus used His own name with a double meaning, to identify Himself as well as to identify His mission of salvation.
When we understand this connection between Jesus and the concept of salvation, we can see that the Scriptures prophesy of Jesus thousands of times throughout the Old Testament. This includes Exodus 15:2 and Isaiah 12:1-3, where it is prophesied that Yahweh would become Yeshua at His incarnation in the town of Bethlehem. The point is that the First Commandment identifies Yahweh as the One God whose law is to be obeyed in the Kingdom of God, and that Yahweh is revealed to us in the Person of Yeshua, commonly known today as Jesus Christ.
The Law of Sacrifice
All of the laws of sacrifice pointed to Jesus Christ, Who alone was the true and final Sacrifice for sin. These laws, therefore, are all based upon the First Commandment. The fact that under the New Covenant we have a better Sacrifice that does not need to be repeated daily does not mean that these laws were put away. The law is still applicable today, but with a better sacrifice.
Every time a person expresses faith in Jesus Christ, that person fulfills the law of sacrifice. In fact, if his faith is merely in Christ as a great teacher or prophet, his faith will not result in his justification. Being a true believer in Christ is to recognize Him as the true Lamb of God, the final Sacrifice that paid sin’s penalty.
The most basic land law in Scripture is based upon the First Commandment as well, for it recognizes God as the Creator and therefore the Owner of all that He created. Leviticus 25:23 says,
23 The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.
God’s ownership of all land is the basis of the laws by which we inherit the Kingdom of God. The model was established when Joshua divided up the land first by tribes (or states) and then by families. There was no individual land ownership, nor did any family actually own the land that they inherited. God owned all the land, and the people were “aliens and sojourners” with Him.
Land inheritance was thus a privilege under God. Because no man or king was allowed to take any man’s land inheritance, men were said to have the right to own land, but such rights were relative to men, not to God.
It is because of this law that God retains the right to expel people from His land, if those people refuse to recognize His property rights. In fact, when the people of Judah failed in this regard, the prophet Jeremiah informed the people of divine judgment in Jer. 27:5 and 6,
5 I have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight. 6 And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him.
Here God was exercising His right of ownership on the grounds that He created the earth and all that live on it. When the men of Judah refused to recognize God’s right to rule the nation, God had a right to expel them from the land for violating the First Commandment.
America’s Declaration of Independence in 1776 recognized God as the Creator and attributed to Him all of the rights of man. They declared “that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The pursuit of happiness was later defined by the Supreme Court as one’s right to work without their labor being taxed. God-given rights could not be taxed; only privileges granted or licensed by the government could be taxed.
When Constitutional government ended and was replaced by the Secular Democracy in 1933, God began to be expelled from every area of government in violation of the First Commandment. At some point Kingdom-minded believers will need to know how to restore the First Commandment to government, recognizing God’s right to own and to govern that which He created.
The Law of Tithes and Offerings
The biblical tax system, which we shall cover later in greater detail, is also based upon the First Commandment. Tithes are the biblical tax that give God a return on His labor investment. Man is allowed to keep 90% of the production from the land as a reward for his labor, and the remaining 10% is for God’s labor when He made the dirt, rain, sun, air, and all the things that we may use to produce wealth and sustenance.
God, of course, does not need our tithe for His own well-being and comfort, so He has assigned it to support His Kingdom government. However, Scripture shows how the Israelites began to worship other gods and gave them their tithes and offerings. God then put them into captivity under the dominion of those other gods, so that they would see that the yoke of the true God is light, whereas the burden was great under false gods.
God also put America under Mystery Babylon a century ago, and with this captivity came the progressive income tax system that Karl Marx had advocated. The high taxes demanded by secular, Socialist governments will not end until the people demand to reinstate Jesus Christ as the only King over America.
A Government of Overcomers
For thousands of years governments have failed to recognize the First Commandment. Yet God has also revealed Himself to each of the so-called “beast” governments revealed to Daniel. The king of Babylon was sent out to eat grass like an ox until he recognized the sovereignty of God (Daniel 4). The king of Medo-Persia likewise was led to issue an immutable decree declaring the God of Daniel to be the true God of his kingdom (Daniel 6:25-27).
Yet human governments have all failed in the end to continue recognizing God’s sovereign rights over the nations. Hence, they have all fallen in time to other nations, as God gave others the same opportunity to exercise divine authority in the earth. Though all have failed in the past, God has been training an overcoming remnant in each generation to rule the nations as part of His body. The overcomers have lived and died without receiving this inheritance, but the time will come when God finishes training that final overcomer. Then there will be a resurrection of the dead, in which all of the overcomers from past ages will converge on earth to take their rightful positions under the headship of Jesus Christ.
These overcomers will support the First Commandment and will form a permanent government of God upon the earth, for they will be immortal and incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:52). With righteous government established in the earth, the nations who swear allegiance to Jesus Christ and His law will find themselves prosperous beyond anything seen on earth in the past. Their prosperity will even exceed that of Solomon’s kingdom.
Many nations will then come to learn of His ways (Isaiah 2:2-4), for they will want to see for themselves the reason for such prosperity, happiness, and peace. Thus, the Kingdom of God will grow as it includes one nation after another, until it fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:35).
Not all believers will be among the overcomers, however. All true believers will be citizens of the Kingdom, but the rulers will all be overcomers. The model for this is found in Israel, where the majority of the people were citizens but only the Levites governed the people as judges and magistrates. The Levites had no land inheritance, for their inheritance was in God Himself, as we read in Numbers 18:20 and 21,
20 Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel. 21 And to the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.”
God’s government is ruled by the King-Priest, Jesus Christ, who is of the Order of Melchizedek. The priests under Him are no longer restricted to the tribe of Levi, but are taken from every tongue and nation (Rev. 5:9, 10). These are the ones who will “reign upon the earth” for their inheritance is in Christ.