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Friday, September 04, 2015

A Political Kingdom ( Eschatology Matters )

'Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness'
Matthew 6:33a 

When Pilate questioned Jesus concerning His Kingship, Jesus told him, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.' ( John 18:36 ) In context, we know that the world that Jesus referred to here was the 'world' of the Pharisees & Sadducees, but the 'world' He spoke of bore many similarities to the world in which we now live! In this 'world': most people, including many Christians, are seeking a political solution to all our problems! This is not to say that politics is totally useless & should be done away with, though it definitely needs a reboot, but politics is not the answer; the only answer to the problem of evil is blessed relationship & that with the Creator & Creation!

We ARE the Kingdom of God! Just as with an earthly king who rules over his people & only secondarily the land, so the Kingdom of our God & Father is primarily His People. In this nation, these United States of America, we are not ruled by a king ( although our history shows that we were formerly ); we suffer under a form of tyranny called democracy whereby the few ( elite ) rule over the many ( sheeple ). Most just seem to accept these chains in a matter-of-fact sort of way, while others actually try to better the situation ( 'if only we could find ( elect ) better rulers, maybe they would ease our burdens'- I Kings 12:10 ). Neither of the above scenarios, though, actually offers a real solution to our problem, like most such treatments today, particularly in the medical/pharmaceutical field, it only treats the symptoms & never gets to the heart of the issue!

Morality cannot be legislated! To Christians especially, those who follow the Story of Israel in the Scriptures, this is abundantly manifest. Oh sure, for a time one might bear witness to a type of surface morality reform brought about through the ministrations of one or other good king, but in the end, every man  & woman winds up doing what is right in their own eyes, regardless of what the law said! Most often, as in the case of the Pharisees & Sadducees, for instance, people find ways to circumvent or twist the law to their own advantage!

Legislation, or politics, can only tell us, under threat of punishment, what we must or must not do; it can never change the heart! Most people today, even if murder is in their hearts, will not actually go out & commit murder because it's against the law; if one actually commits murder, there is a good chance they will get caught & at best imprisoned, at the worst, executed for their particular crime. More & more, as politics & legislation fails, people are getting away with murder, because their hearts have not been changed; they still have murder in their hearts! For a time, one might argue, pollitical legislation offers a check on this issue & here is where we come to the heart of the issue, especially among, but not limited to, our Christian population!

The phrase 'Eschatology Matters', while not an unfamiliar one in this day & age, is bound to become more & more common as our present age progresses! The Eschatology of Scripture, although its effects were lasting & world-changing, did not concern us! Sure, to the extent that we have inherited the Blessings of that Eschatology, it should concern us that it is often treated with little to no respect, but when it comes down to brass tacks, the Eschatology of Scripture does not speak to our day & age. This is not to say that people cannot glean a lesson from the Story of Israel FOR this day & age, though; the Story of of Israel holds many lessons for us, not least of which are, 'politics cannot offer a real solution' & 'you can't legislate morality'!

Although more & more are beginning to realize how much Jesus really fulfilled through His Parousia, most Christians do not believe that the Eschatology of Scripture is Fulfilled. Some acknowledge that, as Scripture makes abundantly clear, much was fulfilled when the Son of God made His Presence known, but to varying degrees, most still look for His ( physical ) reappearance & the Advent of a Political Kingdom!Because these Christians believe that the Eschatology of Scripture is unfulfilled as of yet, they tend to cherry-pick certain passages from it & app;ly them to this day & age, for instance, using passages like Romans 13 to say that we need to obey the government, even when it becomes tyrannical!

If Eschatology has been Fulfilled, as is abundantly clear from Scripture, then why are most still seeking a political solution to all our problems? Have we not witnessed over & over how politics & legislation do not have a lasting effect? Can we not, as Christians especially, see that a Political Kingdom is not the answer? Christians, though many do not seem to acknowledge it, know how easy that Answer is; the Answer lies in Blessed Relationship with the Creator & His Creation! It is through seeking first His Kingdom that we find Peace; seeking the kingdom of men only brings War!

As Christians more & more begin to realize that the Eschatology of Scripture is Fulfilled & apply the lessons taught in the History of Israel, we may understand that politics & legislation is not the answer; we will get nowhere in a Political Kingdom! Only by the application of Scripture & the lessons learned from our past will we ever truly be able to live at peace! While it seems, in many respects, that we still live in the shadow of the Pharisees & Sadducees, it should be Clear as Day that we live in & as the Kingdom of our God & Father, the Kingdom that the prophet Daniel referred to as having no end, the Age which Jesus referred to as The Age to Come!

May we ever seek to live & thrive in the Kingdom of Heaven rather than seeking a political solution to our problems! As History attests to, political solutions have no lasting effect because they only treat symptoms, they can never reach to the heart of the issue. Israel sought a political kingdom like all the other nations ( I Samuel 8 ) & after much heart-break & misery, were finally destroyed. America needs to learn this lesson or she too will follow in the footsteps of Israel of Old!

Charles Haddon Shank

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