Friday Morning Manna
June 19, 2020
The Kingdom of God and the Kingdoms of Man
“Jesus answered (Pilate), ‘My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom is not from hence.” John 18: 36, Authorized Version (see verses 33-40).
Everyone seeking for truthful and truth-filled answers and clear explanations that invariably accompany “the truth that sets us free” (John 8: 31, 32)—as to what and why the unprecedented crises within the coronavirus pandemic crisis, rapidly evolving in America (and in the world), as in the initially mysterious “wheel within a wheel” the prophet of saw in vision (Eze. 1: 15-28)—particularly where all these will ultimately lead to and culminate in, is this:
The final crisis facing America and the world is the battle between the three-fold union of the final kingdom of man against the end-time kingdom of God on earth. The battle will be both spiritual and literal.
John was shown in vision and described this in prophetic language, as follows: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, for the are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God almighty. . . And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” Rev. 16: 14, 16, N.K.J.V. If thus called in Hebrew, not English, it must be understood to be symbolical and spiritual not a literal Armageddon, as Futurism does, and thus misses wide of the mark. We will address prophecies later, God willing.
In the above opening Scriptures, “Pilate” represented imperial Rome who, in the largest sense and broadest applications defined by the apotelesmatic principle, represents the civil powers or the state, in comparison and in contrast to the “Jews,” here representing the religious powers or the church.
Lest it be forgotten, according to creation (which evolution attempts to discredit and “do away with” alongside the law of God), Adam was originally divinely hand-crafted “from the dust of the ground” (not from “spirit” or “ashes”), designed “in the image and likeness” of God Creator and appointed to be the king of the unfallen earth as Christ’s vicegerent. But after the fall of Adam, under the kingdom of grace of the gospel dispensation, God Jehovah prior to His incarnation, recognized and blessed the existence of these two separate institutions of church and state or the religious and civil powers, endowing each with separate, specific, particular and non-overlapping realms and spaces of authorities and powers over man. They were to mutually co-exist, only in their divinely-designated specific realms yet both under the direct control and direction of God. Jesus, God incarnate, made this very clear in these famous, unforgettable and vital declaration to all constitutional experts, jurists, legal luminaries and politically-active religious authorities as well zealous Christians in these last days:
“And he said unto them (the Pharisees), ‘Whose image and inscription is this [on the coin or denarius)?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesars,’ and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22: 20, 21, N.K.J.V. (See also Mark 12: 17; Luke 20: 25). Christ’s answer to Pharisees then, and now was so thorough, logical, analytical, truthful and definitive that the Scriptures says further: “When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.” Matt. 22: 22.
The Pharisees of today would do well to emulate the example of their earlier forbears! When presented with this truth regarding the separation of church and state, religious and civil powers, they should just likewise “marvel, leave and go their ways.” But sadly, prophecy warns us that the exact opposite will happen—and herein lies the seed of what will soon burst out as the tree of the final crisis, the climax of the conflict of the ages!
Jesus was addressing both powers then and now by declaring, “My kingdom” (king’s dominion) that is, in stark contrast to these two recognizable kingdom powers of this world, “is not of this world,” meaning, it does not derive and therefore never depends on the authority and powers resident on these two temporal kingdom powers, as well as their interpretations of it thereof.
Hence Jesus made it crystal clear that there was and is absolutely no need or reason whatsoever, regardless of changing circumstances for “His servants,” both His faithful followers on earth and the heavenly host of angels making up “the armies of heaven” (Rev. 19: 11-21), to fight (that is, before their appointed time and manner according to prophecy) or use force and wars—as these two generic earthly kingdom powers have done since the falling away of Israel and Judah, down through the centuries to the Dark Ages of over a thousand years to the very last remnant of earth time—to set Him free from anyone or anything. It is He, the Truth Himself, and His truth that sets man free from the ultimate bondage and slavery to sin, error and ignorance.
The Kingdoms of Man
After the fall, when the earth was still young, the very first form of earthly government and authority, mini kingdom if you will, sanctioned by God, was the patriarchal system, never matriarchal. The specific names and respective ages of the first ten patriarchs of the religious line are recorded in Genesis, beginning with Adam and ending with Noah (whose name means “rest”), just before the flood.
The Patriarchs. “Greek patriarches, ‘first’ (or foremost) father’; pater, ‘father.’] Father or ruler of a tribe or family. The patriarchs mentioned in Scriptures [and also in E.G. White’s book, Patriarchs and Prophets] were the founders of the Jewish race and religion. The term is applied to Abraham (Heb. 7: 4), the 12 sons of Jacob (Acts 7: 8, 9), and David (Acts 2: 29). The heads of families previous to Moses’ time, especially the line of godly men given in Genesis 5, are often referred to by this title, although not yet in the Bible. In a patriarchy the right to govern resided first in the founder of the race or tribe and, in succeeding generations, in the first-born son [not daughter]. During the patriarchal dispensation before the establishment of the theocracy, the head of each family not only governed but also acted as priest of his household.
These was later followed by the rule of Judges. A history regarding the Judges is necessary here, as obtained from the SDA Bible Dictionary, entry “Judge,” pp. 614, 615:
“Shortly after Israel left Egypt, Moses, upon the advice of his father-in-law, Jethro, appointed men to act as judges and rulers over groups of 10, 50, 100, and 1,000—a system roughly similar to our lower civil courts today (Exo. 18: 13-26). These men were to judge righteously, fearlessly, and without partiality (Deut. 1: 16, 17).
NOTE: If this particular “similarity” is what is being referred to by the Christian right as America’s “Judeo-Christian” heritage, without fulfilling the other half which requires that those in positions of power in any of these two power centers do so “righteously, fearlessly, and without partiality”—but cave to the crush of public pressure of mere “political correctness,” then it is but an outsize form of “having the form of godliness but denying the power thereof!” (2 Tim 3: 5). And if only the professed Christian law-makers, judges, and law-enforcement authorities today would really study their Bibles (and not merely hold it up for photo ops) and faithfully obey God’s specific injunctions regarding their office, work, responsibility and accountability to Him and his fellowmen, how much different the state of affairs of our legal system and the “law and order” our society would be. But alas, because of the unbending arc of the prophetic word, all we can now just exclaim is, “Ah! what might have been!”)
“God gave Moses a code of law as the standard by which judgments were to be made (see Exo. chapters 20-23; Lev. chapters 18-20, etc.). Upon settling in Canaan, the Israelites were to appoint judges and officers for all their towns (Deut. 16: 18-20; 17: 8-12). After the establishment of the kingdom, the king became chief judge in civil [never religious] affairs (1 Kings 3: 9 7: 7; cf. 1 Sam. 8: 5). “David appointed Levites as judges (1 Chron. 23: 4; 26: 29), and Jehoshaphat improved the judicial system in Judah, appointing judges in all fortified cities and establishing a supreme court at Jerusalem, with the chief priest presiding in religious matters and the prince of Judah in civil [matters] (2 Chron. 19: 8, 11). NOTE the clear separation of powers very early in Israel’s history in the promised land. “In a special sense the term judge is applied to the ‘magistrates’ who governed Israel in the period between Joshua and the setting up of the monarchy. The Hebrews borrowed their term for ‘judge,’ shopfet, from the Canaanites. The rulers of Carthage, descendants of the Phoenicians, bore this title for centuries. To the Romans the title is known in the corrupted form suffes, plural suffetes. Because of idolatry, the Lord permitted [thus was in charge] enemies to oppress the Israelites (Judges 2: 14). When the people called upon God as a result of their troubles, He raised up Judges (verse 18) who delivered them and then judged them (ch 2: 16; cf. ch 10: 2). NOTE: Remember that Jesus, the mighty Deliverer is also the mighty Judge!] . These judges did not rule in unbroken succession, but appeared sporadically, sometimes contemporaneously in different parts of the country [in Canaan]. “One of the major themes of Psalms is God’s function as supreme Judge (Ps. 7: 8, 11; 9: 8; 58: 11; 82: 1; 96: 13). Men often appealed their cases to God when injustice was felt in the hands of men (Ps. 35: 24; 43: 1). That God will be the final Judge, and that His judgments shall satisfy all the demands of justice, is certain (Eze. 33: 20; 2 Tim. 4: 1; Rev. 19: 2). He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17: 31). The basis of God’s righteous judgment will be, in every case, the evidence from the life of the one judged (Eccl. 12: 14; Luke 19: 22; Rom. 2: 12, 27; 14: 10; 2 Cor. 5: 10; Rev. 20: 12, 13). The Book of Judges. “The history of the Hebrew people from the death of Joshua, c. 1375 B.C., to the establishment of the monarchy, c. 1050 B.C., a period of approximately 300 years. The book takes its name from the title by which the men who governed Israel during this period were known. These Judges were appointed by God [not man] (Judges 3: 15; 4: 5; 6: 12, etc.). Civil and military [not religious] authority centered in the office of judge, though the book the book of Judges stresses principally the military leadership of the judges in delivering Israel from foreign bondage [in the promised land!] Since their exploits were largely military in character, the term ‘chieftain’ would seem to describe their function more accurately. The need for such leaders arose out of the prevailing apostasy, anarchy and prevailing oppression. The more illustrious of the judges, such as Gideon, Deborah and Samson, became national heroes. Ancient Jewish tradition makes Samuel the author of this book. The recurring expression, ‘in those days there was no king in Israel’ (Judges 17: 6), indicates that the book was written after the establishment of the monarchy under Saul. However, it must have been written after David’s victory over the Jebusites and his capture of Jerusalem early in his reign (2 Sam. 5: 6-9; cf. Judges 19: 10, 11).”
The Beginning of Monarchy
Only three kings reigned under the United Kingdom of Israel: Saul, son of the Benjamite Kish, thus ending the theocracy. However, “the peoples’ popular choice” because he was “young, tall and handsome,” king Saul’s brash disobedience and presumptuous usurpation of the sacred office and privileges resident only in the man of God, and was rejected by God as king In desperation he consulted a medium, committing the unpardonable sin. His three sons were killed in his last battle with the hated Philistines, and himself badly wounded, he died by suicide, falling on his own sword when his armorbearer refused to obey and kill him. Then the beloved David took the throne, succeeded by his famous son, Solomon. Both reigned for forty years each.
(Stay tuned! To be continued next week, God willing).