Monday, May 12, 2008

Evil Empire: The rule of man

I was just listening to R.C. Sproul's podcast titled "The Evil Empire" in the "City of God - City of Man" series (on the link there it's called "Why do Nations Rage?"). In this series he started with Cain and through Babel and is explaining how there is a "cosmic war" between God and man. In this latest installment he explained the institutional rebellion against God by man. This begins with Babel how man came together in defiance of God to create a city dedicated to man's achievements. From the text, there is no one man that is to blame bu it is the institution set up by a variety of men.

Bear with me because I am simply thinking out loud.

In Christ's wilderness temptation we note that all the kingdoms of the world are ruled by Satan (Matt. 4:8). We also see Satan referenced as the "god of this world" and the "god of the air" (Eph. 2:2). Our adversaries (though flesh and blood) are principalities and powers (worldly kingdoms) and spirits in the dark realms (Eph. 6:12). We can also go back to 1 Samuel 8 where we see that Israel's call for a king is called idolatry, and a rebellion against God's rule.

In light of this I return to Sproul's lecture, which comes from Psalm 2.
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the LORD
and against his Anointed One.

"Let us break their chains," they say,
"and throw off their fetters."
From this he continues on to say the institutional nations of the world have banded together - not individual people - to come against Israel in this instance but against the Messiah in its prophetic reading. They "throw off" the rule of God and "break the chains" of His law.

So I'm listening to this and thinking, with all those other verses popping in my head, about the relation to government today. If the institutionalized government and rule of man is rebellion to God, and this is true of all nations under the influence of Satan, how does the Christian relate?
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.

Then he rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,

"I have installed my King
on Zion, my holy hill."
The Psalm continues to say God laughs at the futility of man's rebellion and affirms His King (the Messiah) is established in Zion and will never be shaken.

This then reminded me of Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 (quoting the latter).
In the last days
the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and peoples will stream to it.

Many nations will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths."
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
This King is in Zion, and he is King of Kings (chief among mountains), and all nations are included (people will stream to it). This King's nation spans borders and covers all men subject to all kings and rulers. This is a kingdom not of this world.

This Kingdom is established in Heaven (Zion) by Jesus, the Son. This Kingdom's citizens are Christians, and they are from all nations. And how do they relate to the institutionalized nations of the world?
He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Every man will sit under his own vine
and under his own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

All the nations may walk
in the name of their gods;
we will walk in the name of the LORD
our God for ever and ever.
Jesus reconciles us, in Him, to one another. Former enemies are now friends. We will be peaceful, readying for harvest not for war. We will lead quiet lives (1 Thess. 4:11), not fearing for our lives (Matt. 10:28). And though others will serve their own interests and find their security in their vain governments, we find our security in the Kingdom that has no end.

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