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Note: This blog post is part of a series titled "Building the Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.
Not all of the citizens of the Kingdom are given the same level of authority. Some will rule as heirs, while others will be ruled as part of the general populace.
The highest authority was given first to Adam and then to Jesus Christ. There are lower levels of authority under Christ as well, and this is the reason for human government. Originally, all government was under Adam, but with an increase in population, it became necessary to establish more levels of authority, each functioning under the direction of the one who authorized it.
Such Kingdom bureaucracy would have worked well, except for the fact that sin and rebellion had corrupted the process. If all levels of authority had been obedient to God, the Kingdom of God would have functioned perfectly. Bureaucratic structure itself is not the core problem of human governments; the problem is that men do not recognize Christ as the top Authority in the earth, nor do they obey His laws and decrees.
Of course, if all men knew the mind of God and were in agreement with Him, there would be no practical need for exercising authority. Everyone would do what was right automatically, there would be no sin, and there would be no need for courts to judge disputes. Hence, authority is a temporary innovation until we finally come to the end of history, when all things are put under the feet of Christ and when God is all in all.
Adam was given authority “over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26). He did not yet receive authorization to rule over other men.
When Eve was taken out of him in Genesis 2:21, 22), there is no statement that he was given authority over her. The two were in agreement, making such authority irrelevant. It is only after sin entered the picture that God put the woman under the man’s authority. Genesis 3:16 says to Eve, “your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
This was the first extension of authority and the root of all governmental bureaucracy. But authority always carries an equal level of responsibility and accountability. Hence, Adam’s authority implied that he was to love her even as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25).
Christ’s love causes Him to fulfill the original intent in marriage, first stated in Genesis 2:24,
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
The “one flesh” idea means being in agreement. In this, the man is primarily responsible, for it is not the woman who was charged with leaving her father and mother; it was the man who was to leave his father and mother. He, then, must take the initiative. So we see in prophecy that Jesus Christ left His heavenly Father and came to earth to be joined to His wife and ultimately to bring her to the place, not of obedience, but of agreement.
Paul explains this further in Ephesians 5:25-27 and 31,
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless…. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
Often, however, it is the wife who seeks God, rather than her husband, and in such cases, Paul says, she must take the responsibility to sanctify her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:14 says,
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
It works both ways, Paul says. No doubt this was part of Paul’s revelation about there being “neither male nor female” in Galatians 3:28. It is not about being genderless but about striving to return to the original state of equality that Adam and Eve enjoyed before they sinned.
This also applies to all forms of government. Those in authority ought to love the general population even as Christ loves the church. But if there are those in authority who are unbelievers, then the citizens themselves must assume the role of the believing wife and do what they can to sanctify the unbelieving husband (government official).
Sanctification and Authority
Sanctification means being set aside for divine service. It implies moral holiness, of course, but more specifically, it means being called and elected by God to serve the people. So the sons of Aaron were “consecrated” in Leviticus 8:10 by anointing oil. The Hebrew word is kawdash, more often translated “sanctified.” The anointing oil did not suddenly render them morally perfect; rather, it gave them spiritual authority which carried with it the responsibility to carry out the will of God.
God’s will, in that case, was to serve the people, not to lord it over them. Men tend to use authority in order to have servants, but God defines authority in terms of its responsibility. We read 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 this way 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.”
Authority is the God-given authorization, anointing, and ability to serve others. This is true in all forms of government: family, church, business, and political office. The only difference is in the specific applications according to the various situations. Overall, the principle is love, which seeks to bring out the best in people and to train them to know the mind and will of God so that they may come fully into agreement with Him.
Men Usurp God’s Government
After the flood, God made Noah the king of creation. He carried the birthright that had been passed down from Adam, but he was also a righteous man and “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). A short outline of divine law was written down in Genesis 9:1-7, where again we see the emphasis on the responsibility of the Fruitfulness Mandate given earlier in Genesis 1:28. This Mandate is stated at the beginning and end of the revealed laws. Its emphasis aligns perfectly with Jesus’ emphasis in Matthew 20.
In Noah’s day, however, Nimrod, son of Cush, rebelled against the government of Noah. He proceeded to conquer men and subject them to himself. In this way he became the first to invent a new definition of authority which soon became the model for the nations. This is the model that Jesus censured when explaining the principles of authority to His disciples.
Nimrod’s name was derived from the Hebrew word mered, “rebel,” and he built Babel with its great tower (Genesis 10:10; 11:4, 9). He was in rebellion against God and His legitimate government on the earth.
After the flood, Noah lived for another 350 years and died at 950 years old (Genesis 9:29). His birthright was passed down to Shem, his youngest son. However, his kingdom had been usurped by Nimrod, and few men recognized his divine authority. So Shem moved to Canaan and built Jerusalem, rivaling Nimrod’s Babel, or Babylon. Shem ruled under the title Melchizedek, “King of Righteousness,” which appears first in Scripture in Genesis 14:18.
Abraham recognized Shem as the rightful king of the earth and therefore paid tithes to him. Shem himself outlived Abraham, so when Shem finally died, the birthright was passed to Isaac. Isaac was 110 years old when Shem died.
We do not know why Isaac did not ascend to the throne in Jerusalem, but it appears that the throne was usurped by another man that did not hold the birthright. We only know that some centuries later, Joshua fought against Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem (Joshua 10:1). The name, Adonizedek, “Lord of Righteousness,” is synonymous with Melchizedek, but Scripture seems to use the title Adonizedek to denote the usurper in contrast to the rightful birthright holder.
Israel itself was a confederation of tribal states ruled by high priests until the monarchies of Saul, David, and Solomon. The intention was for Israel to be ruled by God (Christ), with the high priests acting as stewards. But eventually, the corruption of the house of Eli brought an end to that era, and the time of the monarchies began.
After the death of Solomon, the kingdom split, and Israel became distinct from Judah. Each had its own set of kings. Then came the captivities, which ended the time of the monarchs. The Dominion Mandate was given to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (Jeremiah 27:5, 6, 7). Because of sin, Jerusalem became subject to Babylon, and the Kingdom of God was subjected to the original usurpers.
All seemed to be lost. The captivity was longer than anyone anticipated. Even when a remnant of Judah returned to rebuild Jerusalem and the second temple, they remained under the authority of Persia, then Greece, and then Rome. Jesus was born during the Roman domination, and He refused to go against the divine mandate which had been given to these beast empires.
The Kingdom of God would have to wait until their “seven times” of tribulation had passed.
We now live in that time, for the expiration of Babylon’s divine mandate occurred in 2017. It is now time to reconstruct the Kingdom, as the dominion has been passed to the saints of the Most High according to the prophecy in Daniel 7:27.
Therefore, the message of the hour is to learn how to reconstitute the Kingdom of God. The past 2,000 years has been a time of evangelization and discipleship training, in order to fulfill The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). This was done with moderate success, yet to some degree it has served to implant faith in the hearts and minds of people from every tongue and nation. It will yet require a great end-time outpouring of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom in its fullness.
Gaining citizens of the Kingdom has been more successful than discipling the citizens. While all of them understand that Jesus is the coming King, only a few have studied the laws of the Kingdom. Hence, they have not studied to show themselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15) and therefore lack the skills needed to rule and judge disputes with the mind of God.
Again, a lack of proper prophecy teaching has caused many of the citizens of Christ’s Kingdom to think that Christ will rule from the earthly Jerusalem. This has instilled loyalty to Hagar, the bondwoman, rather than to Sarah, the free woman. By misunderstanding the divine plan in regard to the children of the flesh and the children of God, they are not qualified to rule in the Kingdom of God.
Nonetheless, God Himself will reveal the truth to all at the proper time. Meanwhile, evangelistic efforts have brought in many citizens of the Kingdom who urgently need discipleship training. At this point in history, they need a greater understanding of the word, both of the law and the prophets, so they do not inadvertently support Christ’s opponents.
Note: This blog post is part of a series titled "Building the Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.