Of course it is—everything we say, do and experience is actually evil at its heart. This is humanity’s natural condition since the Fall. But at the cross, Jesus Christ completely atoned for that depravity, and, in a divine sting operation, He stripped the authority to rule over the earth from Satan as well. He then rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and was greeted there by His Father with these words:
“‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ The LORD (God the Father) shall send the rod of Your (Jesus Christ’s) strength out of Zion (the Church). Rule (through the church) in the midst of Your enemies (on the earth)! Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power” (Psalms 110:1-3).
In this passage, quoted or alluded to over a dozen times elsewhere in the Bible, David summarizes prophetically what is the fulfillment of our eternal purpose as mankind and the reason for our creation, as clearly stated in Genesis 1:26, 28:
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion…over all the earth….’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it’”
At the cross, this eternal purpose of God was restarted in earnest. There, the authority to rule over the earth legally, in the court of divine justice. was taken back from the thief, Satan himself, who stole it at the Tree in the Garden millennia earlier. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, finalizing Satan’s defeat.
After another forty days here on the earth, now in His resurrection body and appearing to many (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), Jesus ascended to Heaven on a cloud. There His Father welcomed Him to a coronation—His own (Daniel 7:13, 14)! At the other end of the Ascension, in the throne room of Heaven, God the Father gave to God the Son the same authority to rule over the earth (the “kingdom”) that He had just reclaimed from Satan in the court of divine justice (Psalm 110 as quoted above). Another nine days later, at Pentecost, Jesus then gave that kingdom to us!
There you have it; because of a span of the most significant 50 days in history, from Passover to Pentecost in 30 A.D., God’s eternal purpose of man ruling over the earth, delayed by the Fall, is now back on track. God’s reclamation project will make Jesus’ actual rule over the earth, through us, His people, true in experience. Believe it, because it’s true!
I find it very interesting that many of our evangelical churches today don’t discuss this big-picture vision of God’s purpose for mankind. Many of us are focused exclusively on our personal relationship with God, a very important and necessary first step, but what of the forest in which that individual tree is growing? Is not the Christian life “tree-and-forest,” and not “tree-or-forest?”
It’s easy to see, given the current political situation, how churches believe and teach, as my childhood church did, “Politics is a dirty business, so stay away from it.” However, if the church proclaims man’s commission to be Jesus’ on-site, vice-regent to rule over the earth, ignoring politics is impossible. “Ruling” itself is political. It is to be reclaimed, as is all else, FOR the kingdom of God, and then function as a part OF the kingdom of God.
The church understood this in colonial America. One of the elements in the colonial army that was feared most by the English was the “Black Robe Regiment”— the black-robed pastors who filled the pulpits, preaching patriotism (politics) weekly from American colonial pulpits!
How did the church in America lose this vision and arrive at where it is today? The church’s stance on politics is generally, if not anti-political (“Politics is a dirty business; Christians should not be involved”), then certainly a-political (“The church is neutral when it comes to politics. It shouldn’t take a stand politically”).
The majority of evangelical churches today steer away from such controversial topics that may cause disagreements among members and a drop in attendance. They have witnessed politically active Christians who have been angry, hateful and very unattractive political activists, and they have rightfully wanted no part of such activity.
However, the improper, even sinful, attempted application of a truth doesn’t negate the exercise of the truth itself. Just because some parents angrily and abusively beat their children doesn’t mean that loving and biblical discipline with the rod should be eliminated. The kingdom of God always functions by firmness and compassion, never harshness and leniency!
I believe two events in the mid-nineteenth century began the retreat of the church from the political arena. First, Karl Marx’s book, The Communist Manifesto (1848), written in collaboration with Frederich Engels, was published. Second, Charles Darwin’s book on evolution, entitled, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life (1859) was released.
Darwin’s evolutionary theory allowed the non-Christian Deists (who until Darwin couldn’t explain the universe without a god) to finally junk their disinterested, uninvolved, clockmaker-god completely and become the atheists they truly were. Even with its unsavory title (the full title is not generally mentioned, for obvious reasons), Darwin’s book swept through a large portion of the population that was eager for an alternative to the Christian God.
Marx’s dialectical materialism posits the theory that the capitalistic, free-market is a constant conflict between owners (the oppressors who do not labor) and the laborers (the victims who do not own). This was the original, theoretical Marxism of Marx and Engels, but its application in the 20th century was probably not what they expected. When implemented by Vladimir Lenin and Mao Tse Tung in Russia and China in the early 20th century, and eventually elsewhere in the world, it has inevitably proven to be a system that has caused the murder of multiplied millions of innocent people and continues to do so today where it is applied
Historically, in America we have not been susceptible to Marxism because of our colonial, Christian foundation, and our personal freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The Civil War and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended slavery, legal segregation and employment discrimination. There are no legal victims in America (the government’s job), though the sin of racial discrimination (God’s job) remains. We have created the world’s most wealthy middle-class. Every citizen is completely free to go as far as his talents, abilities and effort can take him. Because of this, we have not traditionally seen ourselves as victims. .
However, what has been called American Marxism has somehow found a foothold here. Fueled by a small group of 1920s and 30s immigrant European scholars at Columbia University, called the Frankfurt School, Marxism was given new life. In a brilliant new twist, they picked new, convenient, ever-changing, oppressor-victim “conflicts”.
As this has evolved to the present day, all law-abiding, gun-owning, hard-working, employed, white, straight, male patriots are the oppressors who cause all the world’s problems. People of color, women, illegal immigrants, government-subsidized, unemployed, those who identify as LGBTQ+, and criminals are all the victims who are being horribly mistreated.
How has the church responded and what can we do? We will begin to look for answers next week.