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The Law of the Kingdom

by George Carter

The Bible talks a lot about government, the right kind and the wrong kind. We should understand this in view of our calling, which is summarized essentially in one verse in Revelation, but we will take two for the context: “And they sang a new song saying: Worthy are you (the Lamb of God) to take the scroll and open its seals, for He was slain, and by your blood did ransom men for God, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and has made them a Kingdom, and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth” (Revelation 5:9, 10, RSV).

It is simple to understand, although profound in its application. God is the Great King and Ruler of the Universe. His children will by nature become kings and priests, ruling under Christ for a thousand years.

God will not give that authority to proud, self-serving men. Those whom God calls must be converted, changed and, in fact, reconstituted before they are ever given such authority on earth. All who are converted and attain the resurrection will come together in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

Keep in mind that the millennial rule of Christ is temporary. It will last only one thousand years! We should go into it knowing:

1) The very temporary nature of man and of this earth; and

2) The very eternal nature of God’s law of love.

When I was in the navy, working on aircraft carriers, my job was to keep aircraft flying. To do this one needs to understand how the engines provide thrust, and the wings provide lift. Two things apply: Newton’s Third Law of Motion (every force has an equal and opposite reaction) and the physical laws governing vacuum (in this case pressure differences caused by the acceleration of air or gas through a restricted space). It doesn’t matter whether you understand the application to flight; what matters is that we realize that there are laws governing these matters. We cannot see the laws, but we can see the results and rely on them. We know that without them nothing would work. The same applies to spiritual laws.

King David understood this, and discussed it in Psalm 19. The first six verses explain how the reality of God’s Law is clearly discerned in the physical creation, upheld by the power of God. The next four verses describe the spiritual aspects of the Law which, when understood and applied, enhance interpersonal relationships between man and man, and man and God. David then asks that God would give him the ability to see properly, and to be kept even from presumptuous sins.

It is interesting to note that close to 70 per cent of the Bible relates to governance in some way or another. God inspired the Holy Scriptures to be written by men of practical experience. Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible, was ruler over Israel when God formed that nation out of a group of slaves after He delivered them from Egypt. Moses had been taught first in the household of Pharaoh, as a son in that house, and as a pharaoh in his own right. And then God gave him a somewhat contrary training up on the hillsides with the sheep for 40 years!

After Moses, Joshua became governor of Israel, and the record is written in the book bearing his name. Although Israel was a theocracy, the priesthood did not rule. The priesthood was subject to Joshua and the law of the land. Joshua, in turn, attended at the Tabernacle and continued to be taught – instructed in the Word of God – season by season as the Feasts came around, and Sabbath by Sabbath.

After Joshua came the Judges, who operated in much the same way, governing Israel. But over time the people increasingly began “doing their own thing.”

The Law was diluted and authority diminished. The common people came to recognize the fact, because it was they who suffered most at the hands of judges, priests and the rich men of the land who bent the Law to serve themselves. And so the people cried out for a king, much to Samuel’s dismay.

God gave them kings – first of all Saul, and then David and Solomon, as well as many other succeeding kings. We read the records of their doings in 1st and 2nd Kings, and 1st and 2nd Chronicles. (Originally, both books of Samuel were counted together with both books of Kings as The Book of Kingdoms.)

Two of these kings, David and Solomon, wrote four more books of the Bible – Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.

Later, when the ten tribes of Israel went into captivity they were dispersed, but following Judah’s captivity they returned to the land under Nehemiah, whom Artaxerxes appointed as Governor. Records of this time under Gentile kings are found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Esther is also concerned with this time in history. The book chronicles the Queen’s intervention on behalf of her Jewish people. Ultimately, this led to the birth of Christ, who was the legal heir to the throne of David of the House of Judah. He came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, into which we are called. Daniel, while he yet served in the Babylonian Court, gave detailed prophecies regarding the coming of The King and the times of His return! Daniel also gave us some good illustrations of the contrary ways of Gentile rulership.

And what of the prophets? They were not kings, governors or rulers, but they were sent to the governments of the nations, to the kings in particular, but also to the priests, the leaders who were leading the people astray. They were sent to straighten things up, to warn what was coming down, and to deliver God’s Word to the kings and priests. They were thrown in jail for their efforts, thrown out of town, or perversely executed for their word.

Jesus Christ, quoting from Deuteronomy (which He did often), said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Our Father wants us to be completed, to become perfect. The law of God helps steer us to that. The Law must yet be written in the minds and on the hearts of mankind (Hebrews 8:10; Jeremiah 31:33). Again, it says, in their minds and on their hearts. This is not merely intellectual, but emotional and loving. The two cardinal principles of God’s Law are love – love of God and love of fellow man.

Since God is love (1 John 4:8), why would anyone imagine doing away with the Law? Shall we do away with love? The saints are called to help administer God’s Law of Love, as rulers on this earth for a thousand years.

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