Part I: The Culture Carriers
The "Battlefield" Where the Christian Faith Prevails Above All Other World views
Part I: Of Righteousness … Revealed Question: Is Righteousness ONLY Imputed? Is there an "experimental" maturation in the use of God's Holy precepts IN the Christian's walk (Sanctification)? - Hebrews 5.
In addition to the Salvation earned by Christ on the Cross, the term "Salvation” in Scriptures is also used as a comprehensive term for the entirety of what God has blueprinted as the purpose for a “saved” man's life. When a man or woman “gets saved” (regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and often called the new birth), that individual becomes a “new creature”. For him or her, “old things pass away” - the old WAY OF LIVING -- passes away by a supernatural act of God's saving grace. See how the concept of “salvation” includes a comprehensive rejection of the old Way of living, and now, “all things become NEW” i.e., the brand new meaning, power, and purpose of life in Christ is fully included.
Since the essence of our eternal Salvation first begins by the Imputation of Righteousness (Romans 4: 1- 5) through a justifying faith in Christ, the key element of study MUST BE RIGHTEOUSNESS.
But that brings us back to our Father’s Interest in “setting my King upon the holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2), Jesus Christ. It is this same Jesus Christ who is called the great Melchizedek - the King of Righteousness (Psalm 110; Matthew 22:41 - 46).
These passages reference the mysterious “Melchizedek”, whom Scripture clearly tells us is none other than Jesus Christ:
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. -Hebrews 7:1-6
Christ sits on the Throne at the Right Hand of His Father, Interceding His Will for Us as Christians
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head. -Psalm 110
St. Paul certainly implies that an understanding of Righteousness AS A DISCERNED ETHIC, is something perceived by the more mature (Hebrews 5):
So also Christ glorifies not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten Thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of god; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. -Hebrews 5: 5-14
2. Revelation 1 Background: Melchizedek … The King of Righteousness and Great High Priest of a Kingdom of Royal (king-like) Priests
“So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest…” (HIGH PRIESTHOOD in view) … but he that said unto him, Thou art my son, today have I begotten thee” (PSALM 2).
“As he said also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek…” (KING of RIGHTEOUSNESS).
Revelation’s first chapter tells us that Grace and Peace is offered to the Church, and comes to the Church …
“…from Jesus Christ ( v.3) the Prince of the kings of the earth (Theme: Kingship of Christ). Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Theme: High Priesthood of Christ), and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; unto whom be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
So we see that Christ’s Kingship is asserted and mingled with High Priestly functions of his Throne.
We also see that He who is both King and Priest intercedes to make of His people both kings and priests unto God and his Father.
He intercedes on their behalf so as to extend the Governance of His Kingdom through their graced and empowered discernment and efforts.
This powerful establishment of the Royal Priesthood of All Believers is the perfect lead-in to the book of Revelation. Since the Mystery which God is going to be revealing to the nations will be accomplished by the “manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8: 13), the supernatural creation of the "Royal Priesthood of All Believers" is the fruit of Christ's Mediatorial Office.
The book of Revelation demonstrates a consistent twofold progress: the March of the Royal Priesthood of All Believers through history accompanied by the heavy artillery of Christ's terrible Judgments upon rebellious mankind.
He caps it all off by referencing the Church of Christ – the Body of Christ of all ages – as key to understanding the Mystery.
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. – I Timothy 3:15
Why the Church? For the simple reason that “She” is the Wife of Jesus Christ. Thus, from the picture of Marriage in Ephesians 5 and the Laws of God, Marriage pictures what we, the Church of Christ, are to Christ. The Church of Christ is His “helpmeet” – His “weaker vessel” – the “weakness of God which is stronger than men”.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. – I Corinthians 1:25
It is our responsibility to bring the “Calling” of our Lord and Divine “Husband” to bear upon the nations.
We show His Royal Authority to kings and magistrates as well as to all authorities so that they may serve Him.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for they possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. –Psalm 2
Praise ye the Lord, Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance; let them sings praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written; this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord. –Psalm 149
Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. – I Corinthians 2:8
There now appears the reasonable expectation – and necessity - that God, in explaining the Mystery, would reveal the outward, visible “Progress” of that Kingdom. Such is set before the Church FOR ALL AGES, in the Revelation of St. John to the “Seven Churches”. As we will see, those “Seven churches” represent the Church of all ages between the Advents of Christ.
The Revelation is designed to point the Church of Christ to her great task of bringing “kingship” to bear upon the nations… for their obedience, as per Romans 1 and 16 (cited earlier). Christ's kingship -- the expression of His Just Rule -- is uniquely portrayed in Scripture as a function of three omnipotent expressions of His character: regal authority, prophetic mandate, and priestly (High Priestly) intercession.
Because He alone is the Ultimate Authority (Exodus 20:3), His demand to all nations – expressed in His Word, more succinctly in His 10 Commandments, is that He be represented correctly by the conduct and beliefs of all nations (Exodus 20:4-6). All aspects of man's culture, belief, and conduct are called by God to be governed by the term righteousness. And though there are many “worldviews” which claim to understand righteousness, the Bible invests that term unsparingly to all aspects of belief and behavior mandated by Him in His Word.
The core of the term of course is justice. More to the point, it's reflected in God's demand “to do justly” in all aspects of our behavior. Our Lord Jesus Christ certainly took that and clearly applied the demands of behavior to the innermost sanctum of the heart (our internal will, understanding, and thinking processes).
Thus righteousness, in all aspects of culture, brings us on a collision course with the notorious threesome “the world, the flesh, and the devil.”
As we testify against authorities (magistrates, parliaments, kings, queens, nobility, religions, business, husbands/wives, the “common folk”) we bring to bear upon them their responsibility for having heard the Word of the Lord. God, in turn, upholds us … defends His Church, and sends fire from heaven (Judgment) upon those who will not hear… and obey.
So it is no wonder that God must then address His beloved Wife concerning her role in lifting the veil of the Mystery to the nations. Christ is therefore called at the very beginning of the Book “…the Ruler over all the kings of the Earth.” His sacrifice covers His people, a people called out from the world and who are now NO LONGER enfeebled by the curse of the Law, but rather are a blessing to the nations. God now empowers them to take hold of His Word and bring with it God’s very Will.
The Mystery is now revealed. The people of God bring Righteousness and Truth to the globe. They are not encumbered with the curse as others who refuse Christ.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of god is manifest in them; for god hath shewed it unto them. –Romans 1:18-19
The people of God are given power to “disciple all [Greek panta = all] nations (Matt. 28:19). They reign as kings and priests meaning, Christians will be empowered from God as with His convicting Presence (hence their “Priesthood”) and He will enforce His Word through us (hence our Royal, kingly bearing) to the distant isles.
Christians will demonstrate a REAL royal bearing upon all that they do. As priests (not by office in the churches but by calling as from God) they will represent God effectively to man, and represent man effectively to God in their preaching, teaching, prayers, fellowship, worship and especially in their thankfulness to God as demonstrated by their acts.
Because the Mystery – the coming of God’s Kingdom… comes with power.
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. –Matthew 13:11-12
Righteousness - the picturing of a new way of life among men- has blossomed through the Church and her teaching… The REVELATION of THAT MYSTERY is the theme for this grand Book.
See BF Morris Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States
See Cities under the Sea set
See Debate Strategies of Jesus Christ
See Millstone Testimonies
See Encyclopedia of Practical Christianity
See History of the First World War (volumes 1-10) with CD Set expose
3. The Apocalypse of John Reveals the Advance of the Real Government in the Earth…the Kingdom of Priests
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God , and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches, grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen. – Revelations 1:1-6
God’s people are called to a philosophy and rule beyond anything imagined by Greek philosophers or Roman Emperors. St. John, in this very first (of the Book of the Revelation, put the calling of all true Christians succinctly when it was revealed to him that Christ…
…hath made us kings and priests (or “kingdom of priests as a variant reading) unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen. –Revelations 1:6
Imagine that. God’s people are called to actually act as “kings” and “priests”. Obviously, these terms are metaphorical in use. No Christian is called of God BY OFFICE a priest. And kingship is an inheritance of his position before God as a saint . That day in England, the “royal bearing” and potent message of the Rev. Sam Davies was more than a match for a secular king. The impact of Davies’ CALLING bore the royal stamp of God’s Presence… not merely the human stamp of professional training and oratory.
That is not the first time in history such a humbling of kings has occurred. In fact, it is such a regular feature of Reformations throughout history and the Bible that a neutral third party looking down on the panorama of history might be tempted to believe that such was God’s real Plan… humble the “mighty” among them (I Corinthians 1: 25-27), so that the earth might know for certainty that the Triune God of Scripture reigneth.
An entire civilization was buried in the days of Noah, and as a direct concomitant of Noah’s preaching. Today marine archeology is discovering city after broken city at the bottom of the world’s oceans… in over 3000 places such remnants of temples, palaces, streets, walls, buildings, statues, and other man-made works. (See Cities Under the Sea – 100 are asserted herein).
Moses demanded unconditional surrender and the disobedient Pharaoh and his army were buried in the Red Sea… For the first time in history since the event occurred, marine archeology has discovered the mass graves of Egyptian paraphernalia, crushed horses, chariots, weapons, and human bones – right there under the Gulf of Aqaba, the “right arm” of the ancient Red Sea. (For God’s Judgments in History, See Millstone Testimonies CD Set SolomonsToolbox.com).
• Samson prayed and then pulled down the House upon all the lords and kings of Philistia, sending the Philistine society into disarray and freeing his people in one fell stroke of power. It is specifically pointed out by the Scriptures, that he killed more of the enemies of Israel in his death than he did in his whole life as a Judge.
• Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Philistines were again “touched” by the Hand of God through massive storms of thunders and lightening. BUT… only AFTER Samuel’s ministry had brought repentance to Israel. Therefore the Lord acted.
• Sennacherib the mighty king of the dreaded Assyrians saw his army annihilated outside Jerusalem in the 7th century B.C. at the preaching of the prophet Isaiah and faith of Hezekiah. Interestingly enough, the stone monument carved out by ancient Assyrians called the Taylor Prism references this disaster as does Herodotus, the Greek “Father” of history. Herodotus got a strangely similar version from Egyptian priests who, in turn, may very well have have gotten their rendition presumably from Egyptian ambassadors with whom Hezekiah had constant contact and sought an alliance.
• The infamous king of Babylon was humbled and quite really made beastlike so that he – and the world around him – would know that …
At the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar looked up mine eyes into heaven, and my understanding return them to me, and I bless the most tie, and I praise and honor him that limits forever, the dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: he do it according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or send him, what doest thou?
At the same time I reason return them to me; and for the glory of making them, might honor and brightness return them to me; and my concerts in my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent Majesty was added onto me.
Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment; and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. – Daniel 4: 34-37
The ancient (B.C.) historians, Berosus the Chaldean priest and historian, along with Abydenas testified that the “chief magus (wise man) kept the kingdom” for the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. That is exactly what Daniel the prophet was called: the chief of the wise men.
The issue here is not so much “kings” as it is the impact of Christ Presence in His messenger.
• Belshazzar was humbled by God when, after an orgy that used the vessels of the Lord for shameful debauchery, the Hand of God began to write on the palace wall, inscribing the words, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Uparsin”. Daniel, knowing this metaphor as an application of the Law of the Lord, understood that the heavy money “Mene, Mene” twice ringing in the [pretended] merchants’ pan of the marketplace, was the scene being enacted. The lighter money “Tekel” showed a comparatively slight offense (the vessels of the Lord’s Temple). Daniel knew that the Temple shekel (once displayed in His now destroyed Temple) prefigured any and all acts of Judgment as the means of defending Righteousness.
All the ways of man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. -Proverbs 16:2
God loves to have His people “picture’ His Presence. That is key to the Mystery. That the God of all the universe would be pleased to use his weak people to explain his Will to the nations is not an ideal espoused by even the best of philosophers. But, adding to that fact is the glory surrounding their humility and the fact of His Presence in and through their obedience, prayers, faith and stewardships.
• In the more modern era, we find Athanasius withstanding Constantine. The minister Ambrose confronting Theodosius the Great, Emperor of the Romans.
• We see Wycliffe standing against the tyranny of magistrates and priests. When they attempt to try him so as to put him to death for heresy, an earthquake sends them fleeing. Of course, no one “interpreted” the event as from God. Neither did they take Wycliffe again in custody. Funny how interpretation prefers any other explanation… but, keeps its hands off, “just in case.”
• Luther stood before Emperor Charles V, the so-called “Holy Roman Emperor”. There his stand opened up the Great Protestant Reformation which would shake all of Europe first, and then the whole world.
• John Knox stood before Mary, Queen of the Scots demanding her obedience to uphold the “true Church of Christ”. She replies, “My conscience doth not tell me so.” He shot back, “Conscience Madam requires knowledge, and a sound knowledge you have none.”
4. “Kings and Priests unto Our God…”
For all of the kings and authorities which God calls His people to withstand, the point of Revelation 1 is NOT so much the kings and authorities challenged by God’s Kingdom. The Royal priesthood of all believers actually references the Royal Presence that attends the steps of God’s saints – His beloved people. That Priesthood is called to implement the Rule of Righteousness. Because of this, rebellious rule must be confronted AS SIN and reproved, exposed and – by godly means (NOT revolutionary violence, much less assassinations, bombings, etc.) – replaced.
God’s people are declared “kings” by the Lord (Rev. 1: 6). Their Royalty is imputed by God. However, imputation is not some sort of departure from reality. Somehow, because righteousness is “imputed”, people in the churches falsely assume that righteousness is ONLY imputed, so there is no expectation that righteousness be taught as mission effort throughout the world in all aspects of character, conduct, and worldview. And since righteousness affects all aspects of life, culture, faith, and government, when we discuss the word “righteousness”, we are discussing “civilization”. But, since we're discussing God's Will with respect to righteousness, we are therefore discussing a new civilization -- a new way of thinking and living.
Many pulpits simply have not come to grips with these truths. It comes as a real shock to many Christians -- including pastors, missionaries, and theologians -- that the words “righteous”,” righteousness” (including, of course, the root meaning found in the words “just” and “justice”), upright and godly -- are all inclusive descriptions that extend in a range of conduct from the way a man cares for his domesticated animals to the way in which impartial judgment is to be applied in courts of law.
Put differently, we have …
• The King of Righteousness is presented throughout the Bible in the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God.
• Righteousness is imputed to the saints which is the whole concept involved with justification by faith.
• According to Romans 6:17, there is the demand of Scripture that we understand ourselves to be “servants of righteousness”.
• Such service to righteousness involves yielding our very bodies, and the members thereof (hands, heart, feet, minds, thinking, etc.) “servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:19).
• Paul contrasts the active service and ungodly “fruit” with the service and fruitfulness of our behavior and beliefs in Christ. So, our good works are also brought under the heading of the term righteousness… and we are no longer ONLY speaking of imputed righteousness. (Romans 6: 22)
It is therefore quite apparent that the term “Righteousness” goes to the very heart of Christian faith in all aspects of worldview, doctrine, and ethic. Given that, eschatology merely handles future expectations concerning the progress of God's Will and Kingdom. Righteousness, therefore, becomes the focus for the actions of the King of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, who is presented in Revelation 1 in His Glory, and enthroned (Rev. 1:4) as King. He is also presented as walking among the seven candlesticks, each of which reflects His Church.
Being also our Great High Priest, He mediates on behalf of the Church. It is He who imputes kingship and priesthood to His people. He can do that because He is The King of Righteousness. This therefore gives the Church her mandate to fulfill the charge given to the first Adam to subdue the earth in righteousness (Genesis 1:28).
It is everywhere expected in the Scriptures, that Christians individually (through their Callings), and corporately (through their Churches), will be the major “change agents” in their impact upon history. The Providential care and empowerment supplied by the Grace of Jesus Christ constitutes the reason for the creation of the Royal Priesthood of all Believers.
It is their responsibility to carry out, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the active implementation of the Will of God. They do so in a manner that parallels and is a direct consequence of their prayers:
• “Thy Will be done ON EARTH… and
• in a manner like unto the way in which that same Will holds sway in Heaven, “AS it is in Heaven.”
Christ’s Mediatorial Office is presented in many places in Revelation 1:
• 1:1 “the things God gave under him to show unto his servants”)
• 1:1 “and sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John
• 1:4 “Grace given to you and peace from him which is, which was, which is to come
• 1:5 “and from Jesus Christ to the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead and the Prince the kings of the earth. Under him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood…
• 1:6 “has made us kings and priests in the God of his father; and be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
• 1:11 “I am Alpha and Omega, the first of the last end, and what thou seest write in a book and send them to the seven churches which are in Asia
• 1:13 “in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle…
• 1:17 – 18 “he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death
Christ mediates all things pertaining to His people, including the regal and intercessory authority He grants to them (not by office but by function in the world). In their intercessory-priestly grant of authority, they represent God to man and man to God, particularly in their use of God's Word, the Bible. In a regal capacity as “Kings”, their faith and conduct moves “mountains” (kingdoms, nations, events, trends, belief systems, peoples, authorities, ideas and ideals -- in a word “societies”).
5. Witness the following, as examples in which “mountains” were moved "by faith" in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ
• For a period of about 40 years the great preacher and church father Athanasius stood firmly for the truth and taught that compromised Early Church generation that the Scriptures present the Second Person of the Trinity as a single Person with two natures. It was his heroic stand -- often standing alone in his defense of the doctrine, that Christ united in his Person two completely distinct, unmixed natures -- fully and completely man, fully and completely God. The result was that the name of Athanasius was described universally as Athanasius contra mundum et mundus contra Athanasium, i.e., Athanasius against the world and the world against Athanasius. It was his heroic stand that guaranteed for the Church a clear understanding of the single Person - two natures of Jesus Christ.
• George Washington was once traveling in the Ohio wilderness with a surveying group. An Indian delegation appeared and asked to speak with him. He was surprised but assented. One of the greatest chiefs appeared and together, they sat down to hear what he had to say.
He said he had come to meet the man whom he believed the Great Spirit had chosen to build an Empire in that part of the world. He recalled a day, many years earlier, when his warriors had surrounded the British army in the wilderness (Braddock’s defeat). He commanded his warriors and they took deadly aim, killing one after another of the British soldiers and their militia allies. But, one soldier on horseback who was rallying the men from the certainty of massacre, could not be hit, even though the chief ordered all guns upon him. No one could hit him.
The chief said he believed then that the Great Spirit had protected this soldier. He believed, to everyone’s surprise, that George Washington was destined to raise up an Empire. And the chief had come to meet him and honor him.
That incident purportedly took place in the year 1770, a full five years before the events of Lexington and Concord would lead to our War of Independence. The Christian man or woman walks as a king among those who sometimes sense better than we do, the Presence of the God who Calls us to Represent Him. (See Millstone Testimonies)
George Washington did lead a nation to freedom and the impact of his life was monumental, drawing the admiration of all nations. At his death, Napoleon ordered his French troops to wear memorial badges in honor of the great man. England, his former enemy, ordered all ships to lower their ensigns to half mast in honor of the man. Other nations followed their examples. The Presence of God in the life and actions of His servants is “sensed” strongly throughout history.
• John Knox prayed publicly concerning the events in Scotland. He is perhaps, the only man to bring Reformation to his people in his generation. When the churches of Scotland were in danger time and time again from the actions of the ruthless murderer, Mary, Queen of Scots, the public prayers of Knox created great fear and were most often frighteningly accompanied by phenomenon which, interpretatively, can be safely said to have been “perfectly timed”. So much so that Mary once said, “I am more afraid of John Knox’s prayers than of an army of 10,000.”
George Washington Carver
They will beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore. –Isaiah 2
The Nations are promised a cure for war. They will learn to be productive and move resources to get gain into capital goods (tools, dies, equipment) instead of war. That is a “practical eschatology.”
Christian people must lead the way.
George Washington Carver, the Afro-American son of slaves, was a very committed Christian man. As a scientist, he was committed to the proposition that his life was to be a living sacrifice to God… and for the benefit of his neighbor.
As a note of Christian kindness, he was burdened for the people of the South… the same South that had enslaved his family a generation earlier. Yet, he was determined to help the people of the South with a particular problem that periodically plagued them and kept them poor, by comparison to the rest of the nation.
That problem was found in the thorough depletion of the soil by cotton farming. Carver knew that the cotton plant was responsible for the serious depletion of the soil which then led to years of impoverishment when so little could be grown.
So, he set out to replace the cotton plant with the lowly peanut, which nourishes the soil. The problem Carver solved was to create a market for the peanut. His researches led him to solve serious economic problems by experimentation with the laws of the natural world in order to harness real aid and strength for the people of the South.
Carver found dozens of uses for the lowly peanut, creating market demand for the peanut. The cotton plant was replaced in part by the increased desire for peanut crops. The lowly peanut never replaced “King Cotton” in the South, but it did come a close second.
But, more to the point, the people of the South, a people who had once enslaved his family, were blessed by his gracious offer of love in his work on their behalf. Slave turned scientist-inventor turned charitable “patron”, so to speak. Too, he became the exemplar of the great race of the Afro-American people, always encouraging a Christian understanding and peace between the races.
Would that all of God’s people were as he… a REAL expectation of victorious and kind helpfulness in his calling all throughout his lifetime. Such a society would learn to glory getting gain through productive stewardship and honest reciprocity (something honest for something honest)and able to provide Christian love and truth with others…while rejecting any system of plundering our neighbor.
As one can see, a determined Christian, using the Word of God faithfully IN BOTH HIS CALLING and HIS ETHIC will glorify God by Representing Him WISELY. Such a Christian will achieve a royal bearing among people, demonstrating the Presence of the Lord within him or her.
God has made us Kings and Priests unto Him in service among men and we “carry” the “ark of the covenant” containing the Law of the Lord within our hearts (Jer. 31:31) as we minister in our callings to:
• relieve the curse (precisely what Carver accomplished)
• transform bondage into freedom and defeat corruption (economic and agricultural bondage to cycles of poverty and consequent social despair through science, sound economic thinking, Christian faithfulness and charitable concern.
• mitigate the deep groaning of the whole creation by the presence of the obedient Christian’s care and performance to bring some temporal relief.
Incidentally, God makes us King- Priests because that is precisely what Melchizedek was…
He was the King of Righteousness (Melchi- is Hebrew for “King of ” and … zedek” is Hebrew for Righteousness”.)
“Thou hast made Him a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Unsound eschatologies may be compellingly rich in theological brilliance. But, if unsound, their brilliance will be presented on paper, and through media and pulpit only… and they will detract from the effectiveness of the Royal Priesthood. Unsound eschatologies retract the influence and impact of Christian governance.
“Impractical eschatologies” are only good for reading and theorizing. They often make great “debate points”. However, they do little to promote the faith in Christ. They can be identified by one or more of four signs:
1) Impractical and unsound eschatologies place zero “eschatological value” upon the work of a George W. Carver. To be sure, they (usually) honor his work as a Christian, but NEVER SEEM TO UNITE THEIR ESCHATOLOGICAL OUTLOOK with such performance. Such eschatologies tend to send God's people PRIMARILY into a state where they are consumed by ceremony and worship, but little else. Medieval practices and even Latin phraseology are often revived.
They are sterile FOR APPLICATION outside the ceremonies and preaching of the particular churches in question. Put differently, ordinary, everyday people in the pews have difficulty using the eschatological reasoning in ways that create additional productive insight for better stewardship…precisely because their eschatology does not point to such needs FROM THE SCRIPTURES.
2) In contradicting a sound theology, they openly ignore large portions of Scripture. However, a surprising phenomenon sets in. They take over and distort sound theology, consuming and rewriting the theology, worship, and approach to godliness. “Godliness” gets recast, turning Christian people “inward” toward introspection with less and less social/community stewardship where sin prevails (Proverbs 1:10, 20). Sin is not so easily identified due to the poor eschatology, particularly sins that accompany the public excesses of society.
3) Such theologies derive their strength in applications focusing on “home and hearth” issues (marriage, family, child rearing, courting, frugal living) where there is already a wealth of experience practiced in Christian homes. They often reflect very good applications to life’s issues. BUT, the eschatology is a little more than an add-on to the above - stimulating and even inspiring – but not contributing to the actual development of the applications.
4) Such eschatologies lead the people into fruitless and sinful ethics and belief. For example, any position that speaks of restoring the Temple of God in Jerusalem openly collides with the Scriptures that speak of Christ and His Body as the Temple in which people “go” to worship. Such theology contradicts the goal toward which “fulfilled” could have any meaning. Equally valid is the objection that sees St. Paul’s admonitions to let go of old ceremonies (blood sacrifices, booths, various sabbaths, new moons, appointed feasts such as Passover, etc.) and ceremonial rites (washings of various sorts, circumcision, priestly “anointings”, etc.). In this regard, it may explain the reason Solomon, the author of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, some Psalms and Canticles, never once mentioned the Great Temple named for him in those books.
5) Invariably, an aberrant eschatology tends to seriously derail the capacity of the Church to “warn” its people about future threats to the life of the churches – threats that are “new” in ideology or message, representing Satan’s newest assaults. If they are warned, it is due to insights gained elsewhere despite the eschatology, rarely because of it. Churches thus remain PASSIVE in their own defense against the future unsheathing of a sword of wicked rulers and even other authorities (religions, commercial entities exercising control over people, etc.) and social movements with consequent “fallout”. It’s as if such churches acquiesce to the movements which plague their neighbor on the assumption that such movements “have nothing to do with ‘us’” or the suffering of peoples we are to reach via the Great Commission.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Do you know what the Reformation was all about? It was not the abolition of the priesthood of Rome. It was the abolition of the laity. We are all a kingdom of priests.”
-Ravi Zacharias, Radio ministry series, “Let My People Think”
Sermon title: The Inner Ache of Loneliness (Emphasis and links added herein by author)
2. The Lord’s Day…
John tells us he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10), and he heard “a great voice like a trumpet” telling him to write what he sees. Scriptures show us that the prophets and apostles were given God’s Word. It is in that sense that they are called “the foundation of the Church” (Ephesians 2).
Equally important is the use of the Lord’s Day, the Sabbath rest we now enjoy which was initiated due to the Resurrection of our Lord on the First Day of the week, a change prophetically anticipated in the Old Testament.
6. The Eschatological Meaning of the Sabbath... and Our Lord's Day
“Rest”. That is what the word Sabbath references. The Hebrew verb ת ב ש means to “rest from labor”.
Eschatology, when understood correctly, is rooted in the Decalogue, especially relating to the Fourth Commandment. Ultimately, the Fourth Commandment deals with a theology surrounding economics and labor, pointing to the promises of God as found in the term “Rest”.
Dr. Francis Nigel Lee cites scholar V. Hepp in a remarkably insightful description concerning “labor” as used in the Bible:
Labor is the mighty pillar of social life. And the figure six gives symbolic expression to labor. Just as the Lord made heaven and earth in six days, so too did he enjoin man to work for six days and do all his work. Alas, after the Fall trouble and anxiety became characteristic of all human undertakings and labor must be performed in the sweat of one's face, so that the figure six has thereby become the figure of worry and sorrow… and thus it shall be in every anti-Christian man, that he controls the powers of creation, that he has perfected the means of labor, that he has subjected culture, but that in all this he has found no peace.
So we see that the number 6 was early associated with the “labor” of man, both in the Garden and in the Commandment reflecting the Garden. Such a fact concerning biblical Truth has startling implications for the interpretation of Revelation 13, and its association of 666 with “buying and selling”. It is also illustrative of the consistency of the proper timeline of historical markers. But, that is NOT the only CONSISTENT usage of “six” relevant to prophecy and Revelation. There are other key Truths we will see “unveiled” by the Revelation of St. John.
From an eschatological standpoint, economics is one of the most important branches relating to the promises and threats of God found throughout the prophetic use of God's Holy Word… and the Fourth Commandment established the initial blocks toward a sound economic foundation.
None of this is foreign to the book of Revelation. The book abounds in economic truths all throughout its course. We can name just a few here:
• Revelation 2:2 “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil…” Labor here is spiritual, referencing good works of righteousness. It is also ecclesiastical in content. However, spiritual works/labor does not exclude the CALLINGs of Christians in their proper vocation…a point too often missed by the modern churched generation which accords “calling” as synonymous with minister or missionary only.
• Revelation 2:3 “…and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my namesake hast labored, and hast not fainted.” Labor is spiritual as well, referencing mission outreach and good works of righteousness, not exclusive of such cultural issues as “Protestant work ethic”.
• Revelation 3:18 “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich…” Though symbolic of righteousness, gold is used as the metaphor for good cause, i.e., it expresses real money, real commodity money bringing “honesty” into the commercial exchange of value. The Bible uses gold as expressive of real value, and honest money.
• Revelation 6:6 “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts saying, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.”
• Revelation 9:21 “Neither repented they of their... thefts.”
• Revelation 13:17 “And that no man might buy or sell, save he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [Note: Understanding the nature of the Sabbath commandment and how God handles “labor” is crucial to understanding which person(s) throughout history are identified by the number “666”.]
• Revelation 18:8 “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”
• Revelation 18:12 “The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet…”
The Bible abounds with eschatological “economic truths”, truths which God's people need to understand even in our current day:
• Genesis 3:17, 18, 19 “…and unto Adam he said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
• Deuteronomy 28:11 “And the Lord shall make the plenteous in goods, and the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord swear unto thy fathers to give thee”. [Note: All of Deuteronomy 28 is prophetic and is not relegated simply to the promises attached to Israel. The Psalms repeatedly apply these promises and threats to the nations, as do several of the prophets. Deuteronomy 28 is, in itself, an economic commentary for both blessing and curse.]
• Deuteronomy 28:37-38 “And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee. Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shall gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.”
• Psalm 107:9 “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as set in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron, because they rebelled against the words of God and condemned the counsel of the most High: therefore he brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help.”
• Isaiah 2:4 “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Economic understanding - the laws of human action -- are absolutely necessary for understanding prophetic passages. However, that understanding begins in the Pentateuch and not the least in importance are the truths embedded in the Fourth Commandment.
“Rest” references the promise that God will bring His people “redemptive relief”, temporally, in the form of a lessening of the weariness of both sin and its accursed effects (oppression, slavery, mismanagement of resources, fallen thinking, lust, despair, bondage, debt, and power-mongering) when they are obedient, teaching the nations faithfully with depth and understanding. Ultimately, “rest” points to our heavenly Rest, where complete cessation of sin will be found and the weariness of what sin brings to us – death, bondage and sorrow – will be ended. All sabbaths point to the progressive nature of God's redemptive relief, temporally as he delivers us from oppression, and bondage. Eternally, as he calls for the people out of this world will find rest in the next.
In like manner, “labor” is set side-by-side with the Sabbath in the Fourth Commandment. God is making clear that they are the social pillars of society, labor, as is its complement the one day in seven Sabbath rest. The reason for that is found in the fact that the Sabbath guides the rest of the week. One may ask, “How so?”:
1. The one day in seven Sabbath has always been the day of worship for the people of God. In that day they that hear the word of God preached. As a result, they understand the Rule for their obedience, especially laid In the foundation of God's holy laws. The rule of their obedience is God's Word. It becomes the standard for their labors. It becomes the standard for their goals, aspirations, and wise counsels. In short, the Sabbath day is set aside from all other days of labor, so that the people of God might stop all other considerations, and give pause with our hearts, so that they may be brought to conviction, assurance, understanding and comfort in the ways of God.
2. Sabbath day gives meaning to the labors of the other six days. The word of God makes it very clear that their labors must be invested with obedience from the word of God. If their labors are not in agreement with a law the Lord, then God threatens to bow their hearts down and heavy labor (Psa. 107:9), so they may come to their senses and cry to Him for relief.
3. Every Sabbath since the beginning in the Garden has been a day of worship somewhere in the world. In other words, God's people are the only people who been meeting regularly since our first parents were commanded to do so in the Garden. As such, the Sabbath constitutes a sign to the nations. It is a sign that the true God of heaven has established the people with influence grows progressively over the centuries and his maturity grows as well through virtue.
4. The Sabbath also represents a day when the people of God present themselves formally in the Presence of their King. Indeed, that is precisely worship really is. It is a people who, with prepared hearts, present themselves before the throne of their King.
5. The seventh legislation of Deuteronomy 5 directly associates the observance of the Sabbath with the memory that God's people were bond slaves in Egypt and that God redeemed them, temporally, with a powerful hand, out of the bondage of Egypt. From this perspective, the Sabbath teaches God's people to repent of sin as God leads them out of slavery and bondage.
6. The Sabbath legislation of Exodus 20 comes to the same conclusion but from a different vantage point. That passage emphasizes the creation narrative where God labored six days and rested on the seventh -- the Sabbath. From that perspective, Adam and Eve (and their descendants) were called to obey so as to stay out of the corruption and bondage of sin, disobedience and the Fall. Their labors were to be perfectly obedient to the commands of God. Had they done so, mankind would not have fallen into the bondage, corruptions, and darkness of this present evil world.
So what does all this have to do with the book of Revelation? Put simply, any real eschatology must have in focus and themes of eschatology of the Sabbath. Any eschatology must present the labors of man as fallen and enslaved, in need of redemptive relief, both temporally and eternally.
The calling of the Church of Jesus Christ represents the march of righteousness to the pages of history. It is given to the Church of Christ, through the supernatural empowerment and presence of the Lord, the bring redemptive relief to the nations to the proclamation of the Word of God and the Gospel committed to us. Romans 8: 19 is clear on this point when it declares…
For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. Romans 8:19
This expectation for the “manifestation” of God's people, can only have meaning if the walk of the Christian faith is designed to bring a new kind of empowered living (through grace), resulting in a new way of life (righteousness). Thus, Romans 8:4 precedes any discussion of the manifestation of the sons of God by a clear revelation of what they will “manifest”. Put another way, what is so special about what God's people “will bring to the table“ of worldviews in conflict? What is it that they will bring that so new and startling that the entire creation is said to “wait with expectation”?
The answer is found each Lord's Day Sabbath and the people of God are instructed, presumably, in a new way of living -- beginning with their heart -- called righteousness. So their labors begin in the heart and extend out to the whole the man in obedience and conformity to the Will of God.
Anything short of this is unworthy of eschatology.
The book of Revelation is, in its entirety, a singular theme: the march of God's people out of the world system of Egypt, marching into a new world that they establish in a land of promise. It is in this manner alone that the “meek inherit the Earth.”
Revelation Commentary: Unlike Anything YOU have ever encountered (this entire page was taken from this Commentary).The book of Revelation is, in its entirety, a singular theme: the march of God's people out of the world system of Egypt, marching into a new world that they establish in a land of promise. It is in this manner alone that the “meek inherit the Earth.”