Who is for The Lord?
Definition of Theocracy:
"theocracy a word first used
by Josephus to denote that the Jews were under the direct government of God
himself. The nation was in all things subject to the will of their invisible
King. All the people were the servants of Jehovah, who ruled over their public
and private affairs, communicating to them his will through the medium of the
prophets. They were the subjects of a heavenly, not of an earthly, king. They
were Jehovah's own subjects, ruled directly by him (comp. 1 Sam. 8:6-9).
" (source: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary)
Under the New Covenant The Holy Spirit Who MUST indwell EVERY believer is even more intimate and intrusive in directing the daily mundane activities of the Christian. Such intrusion is even more Theocratic then even in the days of Israel under Moses leadership. THIS IS GOD's ULTIMATE ETERNAL PURPOSE IN CHRIST.
The Church today, and for the last 2000 years since the death of the Apostles, is like Israel during the days of Kings of Israel. The Church is filled with Kings, Princes, and the entire structures are around the executive and administrative power of the leaders. Like worldly monarchs and their entourages the Church in its many different forms is expressed in denominations. The parallels tell us a lot about the spiritual state of the Church and what God through The Holy Spirit is determined to change before the return of The Lord Jesus. The parallels begin from the sending of a deliverer to Egypt.
1. Moses and The Lord Jesus Christ
It is widely understood that Moses was sent to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from bondage and to bring them to the Promised Land. This account in Exodus was a type and symbol for the whole world to understand the purpose of the coming of the Eternal deliverer, The Lord Jesus Christ, from the bondage of sin and death and to lead born-again believers to eternal life.
2. Israel and the Church
The Israelites in the Old Testament were a type and symbol of the new Israel, The Church, born out of the shedding of Christ's Blood.
When Moses led Israel out of Egypt, God was Personally directing the lives of the people through Moses, His prophet. In Deuteronomy, we see that God set new and high standards for both personal hygiene, social interaction and law and order. All of which are still practiced in various forms or modified forms today around the world.
In the New Testament we see that when The Lord Jesus established The Church, God again Personally led them through the Lord Jesus being both the Deliverer as well as God. Moreover, consistent with the Old Testament the Holy Spirit Who was on Moses and empowered Him to do mighty signs and wonders was also on The Lord Jesus to do mighty deeds (Luke 24:19).
3. When Moses died and The Lord Jesus left
Long before Moses died, through the wisdom of God given through Jethro his father-in-law, Moses appointed 70 leaders over the tribes of Israel to assist with managing the affairs of the nation. The Holy Spirit then came upon them and they were empowered to exercise their office. However, The Lord God still Personally directed the affairs of state through Moses, as His Prophet, and Aaron as His High Priest assisted by the Levitical Priesthood at the Tabernacle. During this time of direct Divine rule they lacked for no material needs and there was limitless power available to Israel and they were a terror to all the nations who confronted them. Only their sins against God would be able to undermine their ability to win every battle.
In the New Testament long before it was time for The Lord Jesus to return to The Father, He raised up the disciples who later became His Apostles. The Holy Spirit was with them until after His departure. He sent a 100% Substitute to continue directly leading the The Church through the five major offices of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. The book of Acts show to us that so long as The Holy Spirit was directly in-charge of the affairs of state for The Church there was limitless power to do signs and wonders. The Church was able to grow even in the face of fierce opposition. In fact, they were a terror to the Jewish religious leaders, the Roman rulers and those of other religions wherever they went.
4. "We want a King to rule over us and judge us like all the other nations"
By the time Samuel was born the bible says prophecies were rare in those days. In 1 Samuel 3:1 it reads,
The people had forgotten their God and the Priesthood under Eli had failed in their responsibility by behaving like all the ungodly heathen around them. The ministry of Samuel restored the people back to God during the period Samuel was the Judge. However, as he grew old his sons started to behave like the sons of Eli who he had replaced. The most significant shifts that occurred in the heart of the Israelites over this period was the desire to be like the other nations. The story is told in 1 Sam. 8:4 -17 which reads,
The book of Kings and Juges and all the remaining books of the Old Testament are the sad history of Israel as a result of rejecting direct Divine rule of The Lord God over them. They had become so used to not hearing from God directly, however, they wanted to have a sense of order and direction with a leader who could lead the people. Their cry for a secular structure came out of a sense of being forsaken by The Lord God. They just figured they might as well adopt the institutional structures of the nations around them in order to feel secure. They failed to recognise that they had enjoyed tremendous blessing, influence and wealth during the years from the time they left Egypt when the God was in direct control of affairs of state. However, God's standards of righteousness was a problem for them as is human nature's inclination to sinfulness.
They failed to recognise it was their sins that had kept The Lord God from speaking to them. If they had repented and cried out for The Lord God to return and lead them then they would have enjoyed the blessings of the Direct Divine leadership. We see this happening in the lives of some of the Kings of Israel like King David, King Solomon, King Jehoshaphat, and King Josiah. The reality was that in the hearts of the Israelites most of the time they did not want The Lord God to be a Direct Ruler because His standards were too hard for them to follow. In spite of His Compassion and willingness to forgive them whenever they would repent. Moreover, Direct Divine rule often made the Kings feel disempowered because their evil hearts wanted absolute dictatorial power over the people and God would not let them. Only King David, King Solomon, King Jehoshaphat, King Josiah and a very few others were will to accept that they did not have absolute power.
The solution to having a King like all the other nations with all it attendant social structures and institutions without the need to always go to God for direction seemed vastly more appealing to the Israelites' selfish human nature. For this reason their determination to have a King reflected their heart's rejection of The Lord God and His Direct Rule over their lives. It also reflected the sinful nature of man that wants to be like God Almighty. The King wanted absolute power over the lives of his dominion. God allowed this not as a blessing to show how generous He was but rather as a curse for rejecting His Divine Rule. The Israelites suffered many cruel evils from their rulers but they never ever cried out to return to the direct Divine Rule.
The arrival of John the Baptist closed the chapter on the sorry history of a people who had rejected the direct rule of The Lord God. The New Testament is a fresh start back to the original model with God directly leading the people.
5. "We want church Government like all other secular institutions"
In the New Testament we see that The Lord Jesus ruled directly over the lives of the disciples. He never used a hierarchy in order to communicate with the disciples. Even though He had the 12 Disciples He never used them in an administrative sense, like a ruler might. He was always personal even when sending the 70 disciples to go and preach.
This pattern was consistent with the Old Testament sign and symbol in which God wanted to show His ideal and glorious preference is to rule over His people directly. For this reason, when The Lord Jesus went to Heaven, The Father sent The Holy Spirit so that the direct Divine Rule would continue.
Time came when the Apostles died and The Church suffered much persecution and in a sense the Christians lost the understanding that seeking the direct rule of The Holy Spirit is always God's preference. Like in the days before Samuel came on the scene, the word of God was rare in those days after the Apostles departure. The most likely reason was the early church was overtaken by a leadership style similar to the Kings of Israel. The Apostle Paul warned that such leaders would come and take control. As the church conceded these style of leadership where The Holy Spirit's Direct Rule was rejected by the so called Apostles and Prophets the church became like the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Christian history reveals the eventual adoption by the Church of a combination of secular and religious structures. Like in the days of Samuel, The Church has also cried out "Give us a church leadership structure that can rule over us like the Emperors and Kings of the earth have reigned." This time also The Holy Spirit gave the Church what they wanted, but the consequences have been horrendous for Christians at the hand of many of these leaders throughout Church history from then on until this day. Just as in the time of the Kings of Israel, the Church has also had church leaders with the same type of repentance that brought out spiritual revivals and rapid church growth. However, fundamentally, the granting of existing church and/or denominational structures even with considerable success stories is a still a curse on the church and/or denomination. Without the direct rule of The Holy Spirit on a church and /or denomination any success is still basically cursed. So success is not a measure of blessing in the grand Divine Scheme of things.
Like the Kings of Israel, there were some good church leaders with repentant hearts and associated institutions who built the Kingdom of God. But by far and large most have left a legacy of failure because they did not recognise that the first and primary desire that God has is to return in repentance. Repentance for not seeking to go back to the original structure in which The Holy Spirit was directly in-charge of the affairs of the Church. The Holy Spirit does not and will not accept a mediator between Himself and His people.
It is also significantly important to understand clearly that even when the Apostles and Prophets are restored in the local church, The Holy Spirit must still be directly in-charge. He does not want Apostles and Prophets trying to act as intermediaries just as He has rejected the current pattern of Pastors and church Priests or Ministers acting as intermediaries. The five-fold office now constitute the role that Moses had over the children of Israel when God had intrusive rule in the private every day life of both individuals.
The Holy Spirit Who indwells the Spirit-filled believer is now even more intimate and intrusive in directing the daily mundane activities of the Christian. Such intrusion is even more Theocratic then even in the days of Israel under Moses leadership. THIS IS GOD's ULTIMATE PURPOSE IN CHRIST.
The Spirit of Elijah is all about returning the people back to "Mt Carmel" where all believers must make a choice between the direct rule of The Holy Spirit over the Church or maintaining a religious structure that in practice opposes His dominion. It is easy for a church leadership to claim that they always ask the Holy Spirit to guide them as they plan the affairs of their local church. But wisdom is revealed by her fruits. Remember, that Israel remained successful under King Saul and many other Kings like David, Solomon and so on even though God Himself had always regarded that the very concept of Kingship was treason against His preferred Direct Divine Rule. Churches cannot therefore be self satisfied that they are having successful ministries even when there is growth and salvations and financial abundance. The entire model which excludes, the Direct Rule of The Holy Spirit is already rejected by God as treason and is destined to be replaced by the preferred order in preparation for the return of The Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit cannot fail in this task so The Church must expect some very painful, and forceful Divine intervention to occur at some point soon. There will be an overturning of the very Church structures, Services formats, reshuffling of positions, and introduction of practices that may be very alien to current practices. Just look at the book of Acts compared to what the Jews were practicing when the Lord Jesus was around.
As has happened when The Lord Jesus established the New Covenant, the Jews who refused to accept the change but took security in the Old Covenant continued in their deception. This will happen again when The Holy Spirit begins to separate the sheep from the goats, true believers from the false. There will be many churches that will refuse to give up their existing structures because both the people and their leaders are totally convinced in their folly that The Holy Spirit's approach to Christianity is wrong! It will be very difficult for many church leaders to come to grips with the fact that their cherish structures which are currently very successful are in fact based on treachery and treason against The Holy Spirit.
The very idea of a structure with The Holy Spirit Directly and actively involved in the mundane activities of the local church is in some denominations an anathema. In fact, the very concept is alien and difficult to conceive how this might be. Many leaders, like the Israelites, feel that such a structure would mean unbearable unpredictability in the way churches are run. How would the congregations cope, if you had a meeting where the preacher preached all night, like Peter did! What about teaching services that lasted 3 days non-stop like when The Lord Jesus preached! What about finances and living by faith like The Lord Jesus instructed the disciples when he sent them out two by two. They believe it would spell disaster for their ministries.
Consider what would happen when The Holy Spirit inspired the Teacher to teach on the evils of covetousness, and love of self which is the pre-occupation of the modern church being hard pressed by the same preoccupations of secular society and the materialistic values. How many people would turn up to church the following Sunday if they were confronted with the words of Jesus to large numbers of rich in the church "to sell all your worldly goods and come and follow me"?
The Holy Spirit would Personally deal with any spirit of competition and /or cronyism for leadership favours or promotion. Any attempts to buy influence through currying favours or giving of finances or material gifts would be dramatically exposed just as The Holy Spirit did through Peter in Acts 8:18-23 it reads,
On the other hand, do not forget that when The Holy Spirit directly ran the affairs of the Church, there was no financial shortage for ministry. There was an abundance of power for signs and wonders. It was easy to deal with believers because The Holy Spirit would reveal the secret sins and deal with them Personally, for example Ananias and Sapphira. In a sentence, running and growing a church was at its easiest, just like the successes of the Israelites when God also Personally led them.
6. "We want strategies for winning the lost like the world's successful marketing and market retention strategies"
The natural inclination of humans left to figure out by themselves how to expand their territories including churches, business, or any project is to find successful strategies or develop new ones. These are based on elements of previous success stories in related or unrelated fields which are repackage to suit the needs. There are no other ways in which humans of themselves can be truly original.
The Old Testament demonstrates that whenever God was confronted with the plans of the enemies of Israel, He always used strategies that demonstrated His unique capabilities and advantages as Almighty God. The examples include the invasion of Jericho where shouting by the Israelites in the natural and invisible destruction by the Supernatural. The defeat of the Philistines by Gideon with only 300 men against an enemy that filled the countryside. The most dramatic is the swallowing of the entire Egyptian army by the Red sea without Israel lifting a sword.
In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus again follows the Old Testament signs and symbols and makes more converts through miracles during His three-and-half year ministry than the Scribes and Pharisees could hope to achieve in several lifetimes. It was not a numbers game, or large sums of funds poured into a clever advertising strategy. It was straight forward, He as God was in-charge and all power was at His disposal to achieve the end goal - Salvation of the lost.
The failed strategies of the Kings of Israel are a warning and a sign. Without the intervention of God to take charge of the battle plan they were doomed to failure time and time again.
The numbers game is a common approach of modern marketing and growth strategies. However, when King David counted the number of able bodied men, this was against God's strategy because David was putting his faith in men and not God. As a result, God sent a plague which killed thousands of able bodied men suitable for war. The substantial reduction in numbers took away David's confidence in the arm of flesh. He knew then that faced with an invasion by his enemies he would be outnumbered considerably. In the natural he would lose the battle. But he had to trust for Divine strategy and help to win.
In the case of Gideon, when he made the call to battle, God reduced the numbers to just 300 men from more than 20000. For the same reasons modern strategies of growth are unlikely to bring glory to God and therefore are not Divinely approved even when they are successful. The story is told in Judges 7:1-8,
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