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When God created man in His own image, it is evident that He intended for man to be free and to enjoy an abundant life (John 10:10). Such a life is not merely immortal but also one that reaches its full potential and enjoys the satisfaction of fulfilling one’s calling in the fullest sense.
The world’s pursuit of freedom has proven to be elusive to most people, because men’s definition of freedom has differed from God’s definition. If men do not know what true freedom is, it is hardly possible for them to know the path by which to attain freedom. Every path they follow seems in the end to lead to a different form of bondage.
There is only one path to true freedom, and this path is a paradox. True freedom is in becoming a bond-servant of Jesus Christ. This is true only because Jesus loves us so unselfishly that He was willing to die to bring us freedom.
His love stands in stark contrast to that which is found in the world, offered by men who claim to love their fellow man. Such leaders put men into bondage to themselves or to their governmental and social systems. They have all fallen short of the love of God and have based their paths to Utopia on counterfeit love.
Socialism is a prime example of that today, for its variety of “love” is based on theft. Leaders appeal to constituents by promising to give them other people’s money (property). They do this by assuming the right to tax people at whatever rate they wish, reaping where they did not sow.
Biblical love respects the rights of all men to own and use what they have labored to possess, as long as they use it within the parameters of the law. Confiscation of property is permissible only when it is obtained in an unlawful manner or if a lawful debt must be paid.
The right to own property also extends to one’s own body as well. Slavery involves the loss of that right, and it must therefore be imposed only as a judgment for sin in payment of debt. Hence, Exodus 22:3 says that if a man cannot pay his court-imposed debt (in this case, for theft), “he shall be sold for his theft.”
Yet all of God’s judgments proceed from His heart of love and are designed to restore lost property to the victims and to restore freedom and forgiveness to the sinner. Any interpretation of the law that runs counter to this basic principle of love—i.e., God’s nature—is a tradition of men, for it puts away the law and blasphemes God’s character.
The righteous order is disrupted by sin and brings a measure of chaos. Relationships are broken when men violate the rights of others. The law defines those rights in terms of the divine nature and then proceeds to issue the judgments of the law by which the lawful order is to be restored. When full restoration is accomplished, Kingdom Cosmos is re-established in the earth.
Restoration may be accomplished in a number of ways, once the Kingdom judge has passed his sentence outlining the path to Cosmos. The thief must repay double or perhaps four or five times that which he stole. Or the victim may exercise his right to forgive all or any portion of that which the thief owes him.
The point is that only the victim has the right to forgive sin. The judge is restricted by duty to define the rights of victims and sinners as the divine law prescribes. The law therefore has no right to enslave a man unjustly, yet any man has the right to sell himself to another as a bond-slave.
Normally, no man would sell himself, because most people know that men are fallible and are not endowed with perfect love. It would be foolish to sell one’s self into bondage to one who does not love him. Yet the law gives men the right to become slaves, based on love (Ex. 21:5, 6).
Hence, the New Testament apostles freely claim to be bond-servants of Jesus (Rom. 1:1; James 1:1; Jude 1). They understood that true freedom comes only by exercising their right to give themselves (property) to the One who loves them and gave Himself to die in order to set them free.
If both the master and slave are willing to die for each other, love becomes the bond between them. By contrast, the world’s form of slavery is based on the bond of fear, which forces slaves to remain against their will.
Sinners may sell themselves as slaves to sin or even sell their souls to the devil (as some do), but their authority to do this is limited. Since man is made of the dust of the ground, all of which was created by God and owned by Him, no man has the right to sell his “land” in perpetuity. So we read in Lev. 25:23,
23 The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.
Man lacks the authority to sell himself permanently, because he did not create Himself. Therefore, he does not own himself. Therefore, God claims him in the end by right of creation, wholly apart from the will of man or the devil.
God’s law forbids perpetual slavery, for the law of Jubilee ends all debt and returns every man to his original inheritance. Man’s original inheritance is the bodily condition that Adam enjoyed prior to his sin before God sentenced him to death (mortality). The Jubilee, then, sets the outer limit of debt and judgment, after which time all men are to return to the inheritance that God gave mankind in the beginning.
As for overcomers, the law of voluntary slavery applies. We do not want to be set free from our Master, and so we return as bond-servants of Jesus Christ. We know that this is the only true liberty, for it is only when we love Him and are in full agreement with Him that we reach our God-given potential. His commands are no longer commands that require obedience, because our nature is aligned with His, and we do His will by nature, not by compulsion.
World empires have come and gone for thousands of years. The lust for empire is the lust to obtain slaves and to confiscate their labor and property. All empires became successful through power and then maintained dominion by fear. This is evident in that their subjects always sought a way to regain their freedom. If their rulers had loved them, and if the people had been fully aware of that love, revolts would have been unnecessary and undesirable.
The Kingdom of heaven is built upon very different principles, because God is love. Most people do not fully comprehend the significance of this fact. Even believers in Christ have often advocated establishing the Kingdom of heaven through violence and force, as if Jesus is much like other world conquerors. But He is not.
I once saw a bumper sticker that read: “Jesus is coming soon—and boy is He mad!” The implication was that when He comes, He will kill His enemies and angrily throw them all into hell. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Though He will indeed judge the earth, the nations will rejoice. This is clearly stated in Psalm 67:4,
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for Thou wilt judge the peoples with uprightness and guide the nations on the earth.
Again, he writes in Psalm 66:4,
4 All the earth will worship Thee and will sing praises to Thee; they will sing praises to Thy name.
Christ’s coming will result in the people being set free from the oppression of their governments as well as their slavery to sin on a personal level. Currently, the nations live in a state of perpetual chaos, but the Kingdom of heaven will bring them into the ordered Cosmos that God intended for the earth in the beginning.
So the earth has a stake in the manifestation of the sons of God, which will occur at the time of Christ’s coming. This manifestation will benefit the nations and creation as a whole, because the sons of God will be the first fruits of creation (James 1:18).
First fruits are given to God to sanctify the harvest as a whole. The manifestation of the sons of God is thus a promise of the harvest yet to come.
This was known to the apostle Paul as well, who wrote in Romans 8:19-21,
19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Christ is not coming to punish the captives but to set them free, as it is written in Isaiah 60:2, “to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners.” Jesus is not coming to kill the captives but to set them free and to show them what true freedom is. Most are ignorant of the path to true freedom, for they have believed the words of men.
We today have already been building the Kingdom of heaven, for this is a project that began at creation. Though sin has caused this project to take longer than it otherwise would have taken, it will be completed in the end.
We start by dealing with the roots of sin and captivity. Our faith in Jesus’ payment for our sin-debt through Passover is a good start on our journey. We then learn obedience through Pentecost and finally come into agreement through Tabernacles.
This is the personal level, for that is where it must begin. Our own personal “land” must be redeemed and subjected to the rule of Jesus Christ before we can reach out to other parts of creation. The Kingdom starts within each of us, but it does not end until all of creation has been reconciled.
To establish the Kingdom of heaven, we cannot use the same tactics that the world uses. Machiavelli and Sun Tzu lay out how to retain power or win wars apart from any moral rules. Those tactics certainly work, but they are unacceptable to us as sons of God.
The world uses fear, guilt, deception, and raw power to establish its kingdoms. We use love, forgiveness, truth, and demonstration of the Spirit to establish Christ’s kingdom.
Our faith is in Jesus Christ and His word. We recognize Jesus’ right to rule the world as the King of kings. We advocate His law and reject any lower-court tradition of men that contradicts it. We believe that we are on the winning side, because we have faith in the promises of God. We believe that He has the power to implement His oaths, especially because Jesus sealed those vows with His own blood to guarantee the success of the New Covenant.
2 Peter 1:16-19 says,
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased,” 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the mount. 19 And so we have the prophetic word made more sure [bebaios, “firm, steadfast”], to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
Peter, James, and John were eyewitnesses of Christ’s glorious transfiguration on Mount Hermon (Matt. 17:1, 2). The triple witness establishes all things according to God’s law (Deut. 19:15). These three men were called to be the eyewitnesses of Christ’s glory on the mount. They heard the voice of God confirm Jesus as the “Son” with authority to rule all the nations.
Yet every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God is certain, because true prophecy is not given as “an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). We have, therefore, many steadfast prophecies, and when we understand what has been prophesied, we may believe the word and apply it with understanding.
Many have misunderstood the word, and so they have inadvertently believed things that are not true. But if our eyes are opened to the truth, and if the Old Covenant veil has been removed from our eyes, we can be effective agents of Christ’s Kingdom in the earth.
A large part of this is understanding timing. Much of the prophecy in Scripture includes timing in some form. Some of it is straightforward and easy to understand, such as the 70-year captivity of Judah prophesied in Jer. 25:11. At other times the prophecies are more obscure, usually because it is not yet time for the foretold events to be fulfilled. The full revelation of timing is not given until the time draws near.
Simeon had a revelation “that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26). I believe he also knew the timing of Christ’s birth on the feast of Trumpets, and so he knew that His parents would bring Him to the temple on the 8th day.
I believe that he also knew that Christ’s name would be Yeshua, “Salvation,” for this is found everywhere in Scripture. He was thus waiting at the right time, and when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple for circumcision and to name Him Yeshua, Simeon knew that this was the Christ, saying in Luke 2:29, 30,
29 Now, Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; 30 for my eyes have seen Thy salvation” [Yeshua].
Prophecy is believed by some, understood by a few, but few are privileged to see its actual fulfillment. Fortunately, prophecy is not dependent upon men’s understanding but upon the word of God alone. Caiaphas was ignorant of the fact that he was fulfilling the greatest prophecy of all time by sentencing Jesus to death while men were preparing their Passover lambs. Men’s ignorance only proves that God is sovereign and that men’s understanding is not a factor.
Sometimes events themselves reveal hidden prophecies. The disciples did not realize until after the fact that the Passover celebration actually prophesied of Christ’s death on the cross as the Passover Lamb. Jesus had to explain it to them after His resurrection (Luke 24:25-27).
What I find most fascinating is what the apostle Paul revealed in Rom. 11 in regard to the remnant of grace. This remnant is a small minority—just 7,000 out of more than a million Israelites in the days of Elijah. Rom. 11:7 says,
7 What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened [or blinded], 8 just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.”
In other words, the evidence of being “chosen” (kletos, “chosen, elect”) is that a person has eyes to see and ears to hear and has not been given the spirit of stupor. Being an ethnic or national Israelite did not make anyone “chosen.” To be “chosen” one must have eyes to see.
This ability to see is rooted in the New Covenant, for it is only when the Old Covenant veil is removed that we can see clearly (2 Cor. 3:14-16). In other words, we must place our faith in the Mediator of the New Covenant, rather than in the mediator of the Old Covenant. We must believe in the promise of God and no longer in man’s vows to God.
The world is currently in a state of chaos, as the nations peer into the darkness to try to find their way. They are at a great disadvantage, because the Old Covenant veil yet lies over their eyes, keeping them in darkness. But we who have eyes to see have this treasure of light in earthen vessels, for we read in 2 Cor. 4:6, 7,
6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.
The transfiguration of Christ showed the light in the face of Jesus Christ, while our own light remains hidden within us. This was pictured in the battle of Gideon, where his army of 300 put torches in earthen vessels. The light was hidden until the appointed time when the trumpet sounded (feast of Trumpets), and the vessels were broken (Atonement), revealing the light of Christ to all (Tabernacles).
We are called to be the light of the world (Matt. 5:14), because Jesus Himself is the light of the world (John 8:12). Jesus was the light of the world as long as He was in the world (John 9:5), and when He ascended, He began to work through us to give light in the dark world. Light is both life and truth. If we are not dispensing life and truth, it is because there is no real light within us.
There is chaos in darkness. The Cosmos of God is a condition of light. Sin and death define the duration of chaos, but chaos is finite and limited in its power. Though we are not yet at the time of the Creation Jubilee, we are indeed drawing near to the time of the manifestation of the sons of God. When creation sees this event, it will rejoice along with the nations, for this will flood them with the light of revelation that will give them hope. It will create in their hearts a sure expectation of the coming deliverance.
We are now coming into the first great Creation Sabbath, that is, the 7th millennium. God is about to keep His law and give the earth its first great rest from the slavery of the beast systems which have ruled the nations ruthlessly.
While many Christians lack the understanding to see beyond the second coming of Christ, we know that this event is only a rest according to Exodus 21:2,
2 If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.
God raised up the nations and likened them to various beasts in Daniel 7, giving them authority to rule until the time came that the “saints of the Most High” were ready to receive the Dominion Mandate. The manifestation of the sons of God coincides with the end of beast domination.
By understanding the timing of prophecy, we know that this time is now upon us, because 2017 marked the end of the 2,520-year contract that God had made with these beast empires. On the eighth day of Tabernacles, Oct. 12, 2017, a new day was decreed in the divine court, and the transfer of authority was completed.
The beasts did not comply, of course, something we anticipated on account of the prophecy in Jer. 50:33, which says, “They have refused to let them go.” But we believe also the next verse, which says,
34 Their Redeemer is strong, Yahweh of hosts is His name; He will vigorously plead their [court] case, so that He may bring rest to the earth.
This great Sabbath millennium will give this “rest to the earth,” for we know that our Kinsman Redeemer is strong and He will win His case in heaven and in earth.