Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Instilling Substance Over Semblance

Monday, December 21, 2009

Instilling Substance Over Semblance

As we have already discussed, God initially intended for all of the children of Israel to be a kingdom of priests and to be able to come near and communicate directly with Him. Initially, the children of Israel agreed to this new arrangement that God proposed to them at Sinai.

5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. 7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD” (Exodus 19:5-8).

God’s intent in establishing the whole nation of Israel as a “kingdom of priests,” or a sovereignty of priests, was to establish a theocracy through which He could sovereignly rule the nation of Israel through direct communication to and through the children of Israel as priests. On two different occasions Israel refused the theocratic rule of God directly through their lives as priests. The first occasion is when they asked for another mediator in Moses to speak to God for them and through which God would speak to them.

18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:18-21).

After the children of Israel rejected God’s offer to speak directly to them and through them, God established the Levitical priesthood for that purpose. The second occasion when Israel refused the theocratic rule of God was just before Samuel’s death. Although Samuel told God what the people said and then told the people God’s response to their request, “nevertheless” they demanded that Samuel make a king that would judge them like the other nations had.

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. 19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles” (I Samuel 8:4-20).

The intent of the Theocracy was that God intended to govern His redeemed directly through His Law. When they refused, He continued to pursue this avenue of His sovereignty through the rule of Law through an appointed priesthood. When the nation of Israel added their desire for a king like of the other nations, they rejected the direct sovereignty of God over them to add another in-betweener. This was not God’s will, but He allowed it and gave them what they demanded along with the just desserts of their demand. At this point, Israel became a Theonomy.

The difference between a Theocracy and a Theonomy is the transition from God’s governance of Law over His redeemed directly through His Word and through an ordained priesthood to God’s governance of Law over a society, nation, or group of nations through an established government usually through a king, political leader, or developed organization with multilateral input. Israel evolved into a Theonomy through the progressive rejection of God’s will. God allowed this, but He wanted a more intimate and direct relationship with His people.

The restoration of the theocracy is a major aspect of God’s intended sovereign rule over His creation through the lives of His redeem. The restoration of this theocracy is also a major part of the incarnation and the coming of the Promised Messiah. It is into this context of restoration of dominion through a Theocracy with Jesus as the High Priest, and a new priesthood as His sovereignty of priests of all Church Age believers, that God would provide a new beginning at the second coming of Christ and at the beginning of the Kingdom Age.

However, before this new beginning for the restoration of the Theocracy could come into existence, Jesus needed to be born of a virgin, live a sinless life, be substitutionally crucified to bear the sins of the whole world in His body to propitiate God, to be buried, resurrected, and glorified to ascend to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. From that exalted position our new High Priest lives to mediate between the Father and believers and to examine, test, and qualify Church Age believers as His new kingdom of priests. This is the substance of Isaiah 9:1-7 in the prophetic announcement of the birth of Messiah and His ultimate reign as Prophet, High Prierst, and King. We must see this restoration of the Theocracy “in Christ” and the testing/proving/qualifying of individual believers for a new priesthood as the central purpose of the time span we know as the Church Age.

1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. 5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government {misrah = empire; referring to a Theocracy; this comes from the Hebrew word sarah, which means to prevail connecting to the power that comes from that prevailing victory} shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end {infinite or eternal}, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever {infinite or eternal}. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this {i.e., this will not be accomplished by human efforts such as Amillennialism or the political activism of Theonomic Reconstructionism}” (Isaiah 9:1-7).

When a sinner calls on the Name of the LORD Jesus to save his soul from condemnation, he is immediately and supernaturally connected to the spiritual dynamic of God’s glorious purpose detailed in Isaiah 9:1-7. This spiritual dynamic to which the all true believers are connected through the New Birth does not end with the virgin birth of the promised Messiah. Therefore, although we can celebrate the virgin birth of the Promised One, it is not His birth that opens the door to our New Birth. His death, burial, resurrection, and glorification is what makes Jesus the “door” into the New Genesis “by grace through faith.” Secondly, for the vast majority who celebrate the birth of the Messiah, most are still lost and on their way to an eternity of hopeless depair and endless torment because they have never heard or understood the gospel and responded to God’s gracious offer of redemption be repenting of sin, believing the objective facts of the gospel, confessing Jesus as JEHOVAH, calling on His Name to save them, and receiving the impartation of God-kind righteousness by receiving Christ in the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Although they celebrate the birth of Messiah, they remain disconnected to the spiritual dynamic of the hope of salvation and their own future glorification. Many have been deceived and misplaced their faith in their own works (Morlalism and/or Ritualism) producing a false hope.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

There is no deception more subtle than self-deception, for when we are self-deceived we stop looking for the Truth. The greatest self-deception is to convince ourselves that we have an eternal hope without having laid the foundation for that hope in the objective facts of the gospel of Jesus Christ and without evaluationg whether or not we have made a Biblically defined responsed of faith in those objective facts.

Whatever aspect of the theocracy the local church fulfills under the headship of Christ and the priesthood of the believer, we can be confident that this aspect of the theocracy cannot be fulfilled apart from the enabling grace of God and the filling of the believer priest by the Spirit of God. The congregational polity of a local church is a theocracy and a major aspect of the moral responsibility of every person who claims to be “born again” of the Spirit of God.



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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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