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Blog Series - Kingdom VisionView All Parts
As we conclude the Age of Pentecost and transition into the Age of Tabernacles, we must say something about the actual reward that is given to the overcomers at the time of the second coming of Christ. Our inheritance is rooted in the idea of the Birthright.
One of the most basic principles of Scripture is the Birthright. Without understanding the nature of the Birthright, it is hardly possible to have a clear vision of the Kingdom. The Birthright was established in Genesis 1:26-28, and it is literally our Kingdom inheritance that we will receive at the end of the age.
It is composed of two main elements: the right to rule (Dominion Mandate) and the right to be fruitful (Fruitfulness Mandate). This Birthright was passed down to those generations recorded in Genesis 5 (Adam to Noah) and again in Genesis 11:10-32 (Shem to Abram/Abraham). From there, we are given more detailed histories of his descendants, Isaac, Jacob-Israel, and the 12 sons of Jacob.
Just before Jacob-Israel died, he divided the Birthright into 12 pieces, giving each of his sons a portion. However, the most important portions went to Judah and Joseph. Judah received the Dominion Mandate in Genesis 49:10; Joseph received the Fruitfulness Mandate in Genesis 49:22 (confirmed later in 1 Chronicles 5:1, 2). To this, we should also add that Levi received the priesthood, a calling implied in Genesis 1 and 2, but which did not appear on the surface of Scripture until the rise of Melchizedek (Shem’s title) in Genesis 14:18.
The priesthood of Levi and the Dominion Mandate of Judah were both temporary positions. The Levitical priesthood ended with the coming of Christ, who came of the tribe of Judah, and whose priesthood was of the earlier Melchizedek Order (Hebrews 7:11, 12, 14). Likewise, the Dominion Mandate was given to Judah only “until Shiloh comes” (Genesis 49:10). Shiloh is one of many messianic titles.
The Dispute over the Dominion Mandate
Christ’s first coming brought controversy, because the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as the Messiah, King of Judah, and appealed to God, saying, “We do not want this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). God took their complaint under advisement and planned to settle the dispute at the end of the Pentecostal Age. Only then do we see Christ returning to claim His Kingdom. At that time, those who rejected Him as Messiah will be judged not only for treason but for regicide (Luke 19:27).
The main theme of the New Testament was the controversy over the Dominion Mandate. In other words, it was a conflict over who was truly called by God to receive dominion over the earth. The New Testament claims Jesus as the Anointed One (1 Corinthians 15:25, 27); Jews believe that another is chosen. Many of them believe that there is a potential messiah in each generation, and some even believe they know who this is today.
As Christians, we adhere to the New Testament assertion, as Peter testified, that Jesus is the Messiah, or “Christ” (Matthew 16:16). Essentially, that means Jesus is the holder of the Birthright, and so we support His claim.
David and Absalom
The New Testament conflict between Jesus and the temple priests was the outworking of the Old Testament story of David and Absalom. Recall that Absalom challenged David’s fitness and his right to rule (2 Samuel 15:10). He even obtained the support of David’s counselor and friend, Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:12; Psalm 41:9).
David chose not to fight Absalom. On his way out of town, he offered a sacrifice (2 Samuel 15:32 KJV) on the summit (rosh, “head, top, summit”) of the Mount of Olives (2 Samuel 15:30). We are not told how long David was off the throne, but when he finally returned, Absalom was killed in the battle (2 Samuel 18:14).
It is clear that this entire episode pictured the two comings of Christ. Christ played the role of David; Judas the betrayer played the role of Ahithophel (who, like Judas, later hanged himself, 2 Samuel 17:23); Caiaphas and the religious leaders as a whole played the role of Absalom by usurping the throne for their own use.
David’s sacrifice on the Mount of Olives was a prophetic type of Jesus’ great Sacrifice on the same location a thousand years later. When he left Jerusalem, it pictured Christ’s ascension, and when David returned, it pictured Christ’s second coming. David then took the throne, and the usurper, Absalom, was killed.
Absalom was not given a position of honor when David returned home, although he loved his son and even gave orders not to hurt him. The prophetic pattern, then, is very different from what many Christians have been taught today, when they teach that the Jews will rule the earth in the coming Age. Such teaching is presented by those who do not realize that the New Testament story is the fulfillment of the controversy between David and Absalom.
To have an accurate vision of the Kingdom, one must know who is chosen to rule in the age to come. Those loyal to Jesus will receive this reward, and this includes a cross section of the whole earth. Those who will rule are set forth by John in Revelation 5:9, 10,
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You [Jesus] to take the book and to break its seals; for You [Jesus] were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to your God; and they will reign upon the earth.
The Dispute over the Birthright of Joseph
The second coming of Christ brings up a new controversy that is distinct from—yet related to—the first. The Fruitfulness Mandate was given to Joseph (Genesis 49:22), and that story shows a controversy between Joseph and his brothers.
Joseph was given prophetic dreams which established that he was to hold the Birthright and to rule over his brethren (Genesis 37:6-10). The brothers disputed this and soon plotted to sell him to traders who sold him as a slave in Egypt. Ultimately, Joseph became the top ruler in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh (Genesis 41:41).
In the story, it was Judah’s idea to sell Joseph to the slave traders (Genesis 37:26, 27). Hence, they dipped his robe in blood (Genesis 37:31) and sold him for 20 shekels of silver (Genesis 37:28). Judas is the Greek form of the name Judah, so Judah plays a dual role in prophecy. In the first coming of Christ, Judas is the betrayer, taking on the role of Ahithophel. In the second coming of Christ, Judah/Judas betrays Christ in a different way by rejecting Christ in His Joseph role as the Birthright Holder when He comes with “a robe dipped in blood” (Revelation 19:13).
Jesus’ Betrayal by Modern Judases
Modern “Judas” rejects the message of Sonship, which is the Fruitfulness Mandate. To be fruitful and multiply was not primarily about having more fleshly children. It was about bringing forth the sons of God. In the end, only those who are part of the body of Christ (in His Joseph role) will have “the right of birth” to become full sons of God at Christ’s second coming.
Other believers will have to wait another thousand years when they appear before the great White Throne judgment. That is the general resurrection of both the righteous and unrighteous, who will each be given their reward at the same time (John 5:28, 29; Revelation 20:11, 12).
The “Judas” company also betrays Christ by supporting those who have rejected Him as the Messiah, claiming that non-believers are God’s chosen people who are destined to rule the world in the age to come. Paul contradicts this idea clearly, telling us in Romans 11 that the chosen ones are limited to “the remnant according to the elction of grace” (Romans 11:5 KJV). That remnant numbered just 7,000 out of more than a million Israelites in the days of Elijah.
Paul concludes his discussion in Romans 11:7, saying,
7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened [or blinded, KJV].
Faithless Israelites (of any of the tribes) were never “chosen,” nor could they become God’s people apart from faith, as I have already shown.
Paul’s discussion in Galatians 4:24-26 tells us that the earthly Jerusalem is “Hagar,” while the Jerusalem that is above is “Sarah.” Those who teach that the earthly Jerusalem is the mother of the chosen ones are advocating for Hagar and her children. If we are to have a clear vision of the Kingdom, we must recognize that the capital of our Kingdom is the New Jerusalem, not the old city.
The earthly Jerusalem was called by the prophets, “the bloody city” (Ezekiel 24:6, 9; Nahum 3:1; Matthew 23:37, 38). In Revelation 11:8, John links Jerusalem with Sodom (for its immorality) and Egypt (for its bondage). Hagar the Egyptian can only produce an Ishmael. Ishmael’s inheritance is Arabia, where Mount Sinai is located (Galatians 4:25). Hence, to claim that the earthly Jerusalem is chosen as the capital (or mother) of the Kingdom is to advocate for Ishmael’s inheritance at Mount Sinai—the Old Covenant.
To advocate for Hagar and her son, Ishmael, is to betray Sarah and her son, Isaac. Yet this is altogether too common in modern church teaching, which, for some odd reason, seems to reject Paul’s clear teaching in Galatians 4.
If we are ever to obtain a clear Kingdom vision, surely, we must know that it will not be based on the Old Covenant (“Hagar”), nor will it be based on the inheritance of Ishmael (Arabia, Mount Sinai). Neither will Jesus return to set up His Kingdom in the earthly Jerusalem, nor on the mount that God forsook “as I did to Shiloh” (Jeremiah 7:14). Just as the glory of God left Shiloh, never to return, so also did God forsake Jerusalem, never to return.
God now indwells a new temple, built upon “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20). Our inheritance, our Birthright is to be “living stones” in that temple (1 Peter 2:5).
So do not look for Christ to come to a physical temple in Jerusalem, nor should you expect Him to call Levitical priests to offer animal sacrifices in that temple, as so many teach today. Those things characterize Old Covenant worship, things which were established at Mount Sinai in the inheritance of Ishmael and his mother, the bondwoman. “The Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26).
Blog Series - Kingdom VisionView All Parts