Eschatology

 

 

Dominion theology

 

 

Two movements within the American Christian Church affirm that Christians should take dominion in the world before Christ returns. These movements fall under the classification of ‘dominion theology,’ which affirm that Christians have a biblical mandate to occupy or control all secular institutions until Christ returns.

 

Christian Reconstructionism

 

Christian Reconstructionism is a movement which has its roots in postmillennialism. The father of this movement is Rousas John Rushdoony. The following authors are Reconstructionists: Greg L. Bahnsen, Gary North, David Chilton, Gary DeMar, and Kenneth L. Gentry. Christian Reconstructionism arose out of conservative Presbyterianism in the early 1970's.

According to Reconstrutionism Christians must establish a theocratic kingdom in their own countries based on the judicial laws of Moses. Rushdoony has stated: ‘As the new chosen people of God, the Christians are commanded to do what Adam in Eden, and Israel in Canaan failed to do. One and the same covenant under differing administrations still prevails. Man is summoned to create the society that God requires’. In other words, Christians are called to transform the present society wherever they are and thus they should be actively working to bring about in their own countries observance of the law (that is, the law of Moses) which God intended for all nations. The Old Testament Law is our rule of life for today (not a condition of salvation but a condition for sanctification) and it should rule (or dominate) all aspects of society. This view is known as theonomy, and is described by Greg Bahnsen as, ‘The Christian is obligated to keep the whole law of God as a pattern for sanctification and that this law is to be enforced by the civil magistrate’. Reconstructionists teach that the moral law of God, when codified as a basis for civil law, restrains the passion of the sinner (capital punishment is a deterrent to violent crime), and the knowledge of the moral law brings individuals knowledge of sin. Therefore more people may be converted through faith in Christ. However, it must be said that when the Reconstructionists speak of the law, they do not refer to the whole law, but only to the moral laws (or the judicial laws). For according to them the sacrificial laws and the laws which have to do with cleanness and uncleanness, dietary laws, feast days, and religious ceremonies, are no longer binding for they have been fulfilled once for all through Christ’s death on the cross; while the moral laws remains perpetually binding, including the case laws and attendant penal sanctions. Therefore, in the new society Reconstrutionists want do create on this earth homosexuals, witches, incorrigible children, blasphemers, murderers, adulterers, and others who break certain moral laws of the Old Testament must be put to death. However, according to the major Reconstructionist thinkers, there has been a ‘covenantal shift’ in regard to sanctions dispensed by the church and sanctions dispensed by the state. Only the state may execute criminals under the New Covenant. For crimes that come under the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical government, the church may excommunicate its members and pronounce imprecations (curses) on sinners. But the church may never execute its members. Here, the way the law is enforced has changed.

As I said before, according to Reconstructionism, Christians ought to transform the present society or take dominion over the earth. How? Through prayer and evangelism, and through the political process and social reformation as well. This means that Christians must become political and social activists. They must change the laws of the land where they live, gear up to elect Christians to office (for the Kingdom of God must be ruled only by professing Christians who uphold the moral laws), and seek to take dominion over the world and bring it under the law of Moses. After the Church has taken control of this society, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth.

 

 

Kingdom now

 

The Kingdom Now movement, unlike the Christian Reconstruction movement, is composed of Pentecostals/Charismatics. Earl Paulk and Thomas Reid are among the Kingdom Now teachers.

Here is what Kingdom Now adherents affirm. Man lost dominion over the earth when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. God ‘lost control’ of the earth to Satan at that time, and has since then been looking for a ‘covenant people’ who will take dominion back from Satan. This is to be accomplished through the Church which, under the direction of God’s apostles and prophets for the Kingdom Age, will take control of the kingdoms of this world, that is, all social institutions (educational institutions, scientifical institutions, political institutions etc.). The Church (some believe only a small group within the Church, called ‘overcomers’), under the direction of the latter day apostles and prophets, has the responsibility to put down all rebellion and establish righteousness on the earth. In other words it must subdue the earth, for God commanded man to subdue the earth (cf. Genesis 1:28). Those who teach Kingdom Theology believe that since Jesus has all authority in heaven and on the earth, believers too have all authority in heaven and on the earth, for they are indwelt by the same Spirit that indwelt Jesus: believers have the power to believe for and speak into existence things that are not, and thus they can bring about the Kingdom Age. Christians are ‘little gods’ who can have what they desire by claiming their ‘divine right’ and they must exercise their godhood through dominion.

To accomplish the task of taking dominion over a rebellious world, the Church must have supernatural help not only from God, but from angels and from the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ (the dead in Christ) who have preceded us. A unity between their spirits and our spirits will create a communications link by which revelations will be conveyed that will guide the Church in its mission. The apostles and prophets especially will have contact into the spirit realm through appearances of Jesus, angels, and departed saints. These apostles and prophets will receive ‘new revelations’ from God, and will give them to the Church through the evangelists, pastors, and teachers who accept the authority of God’s apostles and prophets. These ‘new revelations’ will be authenticated through demonstrations of power in the working of miracles, signs and wonders. So the Church will rise up as the spiritual army of God and, through the process of spiritual warfare, will defeat all the forces of darkness, bringing the entire world under the dominion of God and His kingdom.

During the Kingdom Age (that is, after the Kingdom has been established by the Church under the direction of the apostles and prophets) Satan and all enemies of God will be put under the feet of the Church, and this will be the fulfilment of 1 Corinthians 15:25-26: “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Why under the feet of the Church? Because the Church is the body of Christ, and the feet are in the body and not outside the body. Many Kingdom Theology adherents affirm that this passage of the Scripture which refers to Christ is really referring to the Church who is the body of Christ, therefore all Christians need to know and realize that they are Christ. During the Kingdom Age those who refuse to submit to God’s apostles and prophets will be punished and destroyed from off the face of the earth. As for the way the dissenters will be destroyed, some kingdom theology adherents say that the Church will, out of necessity, use physical force by which it will judge, sentence, and execute penalties (including death) upon the opposers. Instead, those who submit themselves to the authority of these apostles and prophets will be sealed with the ‘mark of God’ in their forehead, and will escape the coming judgement.

After the earth has been purged of evil, the earth will be ready to be turned over to Jesus when He returns. In the light of this teaching, therefore, the Church has failed. The reason why the Church has failed is that it has not understood what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that they would be witnesses of him throughout the earth. To be a witness means to demonstrate the Kingdom on earth, to take dominion, bringing all things into obedience to Christ. In order to demonstrate the Kingdom, the Church must be prosperous.

 

Confutation

 

Now I am going to refute the main doctrines of these two movements, which, as you have seen, have some doctrines in common.

 

The Kingdom of God will be established by Christ when He returns from heaven

 

The Church of the Living God is not commanded to take control of the kingdoms of this world. In other words, the Church is not called to establish the Kingdom of God on earth by taking dominion over every aspect of life through the establishment of a theocratic government. For the Kingdom of God will be established on the earth by Jesus Christ when He returns from heaven. This is what the apostle John says in the book of Revelation: “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years” (Revelations 20:1-6 – NIV). Therefore, only at the coming of Jesus Christ will we be able to say: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15 – NIV). During the millennial reign, the Lord will give all Christians power over the nations, and they will reign with Him over the kingdoms of the world. When the thousand-year reign is over, Satan will be released from his prison and he will deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth to gather them for battle. These nations will surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire will come down from heaven and devour them (cf. Revelation 20:7-9). Then Satan will be cast into the lake of fire (cf. Revelation 20:10), the day of judgement will take place (cf. Revelation 20:11-15), and after the judgement God will create new heavens and a new earth, and the New Jerusalem – the heavenly city – will descend upon the new earth, and there the saints will reign forever and ever (cf. Revelation cap. 21-22). All these things are still to come, and we look forward to seeing them. We are sure that they will take place at God’s appointed time.

At this point, however, to avoid any misunderstanding, I need to say that while on the one hand the Kingdom of God will be established by Christ at His return, on the other hand the Kingdom of God is already present on the earth. These two things are not contradictory, for according to the Word of God the Kingdom is not only a future order into which the children of God will enter when Jesus Christ returns, but also a present realm or sphere into which people are entering now. Paul, for instance, says to the Colossians: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14 – NKJV). Therefore, when one repents of his sins and believes in the Gospel of the kingdom, he enters into the Kingdom for God brings him into it. That the Kingdom of God is already present upon the earth is evident also from the following words of Paul to the Romans: “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17 – NKJV), and from these other words he wrote to the Corinthians: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Corinthians 4:20 - NIV). Therefore, it is correct to affirm that the Kingdom of God is upon the earth. Prior to the apostle Paul, Jesus affirmed in various ways that the Kingdom of God was already upon the earth. For He said to the Pharisees: “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21 – NKJV), and: “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28 – NKJV), and to the seventy: “Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10:8-9 – NKJV). As you can see, from the above mentioned passages of the Scriptures, the Kingdom of God is upon the earth, for Christians – who are called “the sons of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:38 – NKJV) - are into it. In addition, peace and joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit and the proclamation of the Word of God with confirming signs and wonders are distinguishing marks of the Kingdom of God.

 

The Church is called to evangelize the world and to suffer persecution for Jesus’ sake

 

Before Jesus was taken up into heaven, He commanded His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature, as it is written: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20), and: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16).

His disciples obeyed Him, for it is written that “they went out and preached everywhere” (Mark 16:20 – NKJV). They did not seek to take control of the world, they did not try to bring all spheres of human activity under the lordship of Jesus Christ, nor did they seek to transform the society around them, but they preached the Gospel of God to sinners so that they might be saved from that evil world. Therefore what every minister of the Gospel must do now is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the children of this age so that they might be saved. He must follow the steps of the apostles of old.

The other disciples of the Lord, too, evangelized the world, for it is written: “Those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4 – NKJV) and: “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only” (Acts 11:19 – NKJV). This shows that not only those who have received a ministry from the Lord, but also those who have not received a ministry gift, are called to evangelize the people of this world.

When the Gospel of the kingdom has been preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, then the end will come (cf. Matthew 24:14).

How many people will be saved and brought into the Kingdom through the witness of the Church? Just a little number of people. For the Scripture says that “many are called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:16 – NKJV), and that there are few who find the way which leads to life (cf. Matthew 7:14). The flock of the Lord was a little flock in the days of Jesus and in the days of the apostles as well, and it will always be a little flock (cf. Luke 12:32) till the coming of the Lord. In every nation there will be a few sons of the Kingdom; in some nations the sons of the Kingdom will be more than in some others, but the fact still remains that the Church will always consist of a few sheep. This means that most of the people who live on the earth will not be saved. Thus the world will continue to be an evil world till the coming of the Lord. No social transformation of the whole world will be accomplished by the Church. Rather we must say that things will go from bad to worse for Jesus said that “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12 – NKJV), and Paul said that in the last days “perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 – NKJV). That the state of the world when Jesus returns will be an extremely sinful state is evident from the following words of Jesus: “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30) How did people conduct themselves in the days of Noah? How did the inhabitants of Sodom conduct themselves in the days of Lot? According to the Scripture they led a sinful life, for it is written that in the days of Noah “the wickedeness of man was great in the earth” and “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5), and in the days of Lot the inhabitants of Sodom were haughty and committed abomination before God (cf. Ezekiel 16:50). That’s what life on earth will be like when the Lord returns. As you can see, no golden age will precede the return of Jesus, for the world will be corrupt and filled with violence when Jesus returns. Therefore, inasmuch as the world will continue to be an evil world till the coming of Christ, the Church will be hated and persecuted by the people of this world till the return of Jesus. Did Jesus not say: “You will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9 - NKJV)? Did He not say to His disciples: “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20 – NKJV)? Did Paul not say that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 – NKJV)? In addition, according to the Scripture, a short time before Jesus returns from heaven the antichrist will be revealed. The antichrist is the man of sin, who will exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), whom will be given authority over every tribe, tongue, and nation, and it will be granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them (cf. Revelation 13:7). Therefore, before Jesus returns from heaven the world will be under the rule of the antichrist, who will persecute the Church to the death, not under the rule of the Church. However, when Jesus returns from heaven He will destroy the man of sin with the brightness of His coming (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:8), and “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High” (Daniel 7:27 – NKJV).

 

Christians are called to live a holy and godly life so that the name of the Lord might be glorified in them

 

According to the Scripture, all the followers of Jesus Christ are called to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel in the midst of this present evil age. This means that Christians must be humble, meek, good, lovers of God, temperate, upright, and patient, ready to help those who are in need and to do all kinds of good works; and thus at the same time they must abstain from every form of evil. Paul wrote to Titus: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12 – NKJV). What will happen if we live in a manner worthy of the Gospel? It will happen that the name of our God will be glorified, for Jesus said to His disciples: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 – NKJV), and: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit ….” (John 15:8 – NKJV).

However, it will happen also another thing: we will suffer persecution at the hands of the people of this world. Here is what Paul wrote to Timothy: “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 – NKJV). Why will the people of this world persecute all those who desire to live godly in Christ? Because the people of this world walk in darkness and are darkness, and hate those who are in the light and are light in the Lord, that is, the children of light. As the world hated the light of the world, that is, Jesus Christ, as it is written: “The light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19 – NKJV), so the world hates us, who are children of the light. However, we should not be surprised by this, for Jesus said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18 – NKJV). The hatred of the people of this world toward us children of the Lord, is produced in their hearts by the devil, who is their father and ruler, who is a very wicked spiritual being who hates all the children of God and wants to harm them. That’s why all the nations will hate us for Jesus’ sake, because they are under the sway of the devil.

Sometimes Christians are persecuted also by the governing authorities. Consider what happens in some Muslim countries where if a Muslim turns to Christ is accused of apostasy and he deserves according to the law of those countries to be put to death. Consider also what happened to many Christians several centuries ago here in Europe: they were put to death by the governing authorities because of their faith in the Gospel. Therefore we should not be surprised to see the saints persecuted by the people of this world; the persecution of the saints on the earth is nothing but the fulfilment of the word of God.

God has not said that we will conquer the world, nor that we will take control of the kingdoms of this world during the present age, but He has said that we will be persecuted by this world. We will certainly appear to be losers from an earthly standpoint, for we will not be considered successful men. However, according to the Holy Scripture, in all the persecutions we suffer for Jesus’ sake “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37 – NKJV). No matter if we are persecuted, we know that we are more than conquerors for we know that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 - NKJV). In the midst of all persecutions we are ‘overcomers’ for “whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5 – NKJV) We are on the winning side for we have believed in the One who has overcome the world (cf. John 16:33), that is, in the One who by His death and resurrection destroyed death (cf. 2 Timothy 1:10) and him who had the power of death (cf. Hebrews 2:14). And because of the victory Jesus won, we who are His followers have overcome the world and the devil, who is the prince of this world. And we know that when we die – no matter if we die a natural death or we are put to death by the enemies of the cross – we will go to heaven to be with our Saviour and Lord. And we know also that when Jesus comes back God will raise us from the dead and we will reign with Christ for a thousand years, and after the thousand-year reign we will live forever on the new earth. What a glory is awaiting us! That’s why Paul wrote to the Romans: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 – NKJV). However, remember that we will reign with Him if we endure (cf. 2 Timothy 2:12); therefore, let us endure all persecutions patiently so that we might be glorified on that day. Let us not lose heart because the Lord is faithful and He will keep His word.

The losers are all those who don’t belong to Christ, for when they die they will go to hell, that is, they will lose their soul. They are on the losing side for they are slaves of sin, they are children of the devil, who has been defeated by Christ. No matter if they are successful from a earthly point of view; they are losers in the sight of God. They have no hope, they are without God and Christ in this world, they do not know where they are going, their minds have been blinded by the devil, how can they be considered winners?

 

What the history of the Church teaches us

 

The history of the Church teaches us an important lesson which is this: every time the Church has attempted to establish an earthbound manifestation of the Kingdom of God – or has attempted to take dominion of political or state functions - it has trampled the Word of Christ for it has persecuted and suppressed those who were considered heretics (sometimes the so called heretics were not heretics at all) or those who had given themselves over to idolatry or sorcery and other serious sins. This because it has adopted an Old Covenant approach to church discipline, sanctification, and the unbelieving people.

Papacy is an eloquent example, for the popes persecuted to the death for a long time those who left the Roman Catholic Church and in certain countries even those who did not want to join it. At the time of the Reformation, for instance, many people were put to death by the popes (very often through the secular arm) because they left the Catholic Church and become Protestants, and thus – according to the catholic doctrine - they were worthy to be wiped away from the face of the earth. Unfortunately the Reformers also suppressed their enemies. ‘Calvin’s Geneva’ in the sixteenth century, for example, put to death the heretic Servetus. And many Anabaptists were put to death by the Lutherans.

We as Christians are called to oppose the heretics (those who forsake the sound doctrine and give heed to damnable heresies) and all those Christians who give themselves over to idolatry or fornication or sodomy or sorcery, but we must oppose them not with carnal weapons but with the weapons of God, which are spiritual. We must rebuke them, we must refute them, we must expel them from among us, we must warn Christians of them, but we must never persecute these people nor beat them nor kill them, for this is contrary to the Gospel of the Kingdom. The same thing must be said about the unbelieving people who refuse to repent and believe in the Gospel we proclaim to them: we are not allowed to persecute them nor to beat them nor to put them to death, for the Lord has commanded us to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us. You may say to me now, ‘I agree with you on this. However we can appoint Christian governing authorities in our nation who have authority to suppress all those who stray from the faith or refuse to believe in the Gospel!’ I say to you that the function of the governing authorities does not include the enforcement of the faith in Christ on society, or the supervision of discipline within the Church itself. For the Word of God teaches that there is a fundamental separation between the Church and the State; the Church must never interfere in the matters concerning the rule of a nation, so the Church is not allowed to appoint some of its members to rule the nation. The members of the Church of God are not of this world, so they must not enter or take part in politics.

To sum up, if the Church took control of a nation and established a theocracy based on the law of Moses, it would conduct just as the Papacy conducted itself in the past centuries, that is, it would persecute all its enemies and would put to death millions of people, there is no doubt about it. Therefore the Church would despise and trample the law of Christ. That’s why I reject Reconstructionism and I urge you to reject it; because if it is put into practice, it has harmful effects on the Church of the Living God. In other words, it leads believers to become merciless, whereas Christ has commanded us to be merciful just as our heavenly Father also is merciful (cf. Luke 6:36). Know this, that reconstructionism leads believers into a spiritual regression, encouraging them to become more like Moses than Christ. So I say it again, reject it.

 

We are under the law of Christ and not under the law of Moses

 

The Scripture says that “cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (Galatians 3:10 – NKJV). But Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (cf. Galatians 3:13). In other words, we, through the death of Christ, have died to what we were held by, and have been set free from the bondage of the law (the whole law and not just some parts of it). That’s why Paul says that we are not under the law (cf. Romans 6:14). We were once under the law, but after faith has come we are no longer under the law (cf. Galatians 3:25) for Christ is the end of the law (cf. Romans 10:4). He “canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14 – NIV). So we who are led by the Spirit of God are not under the law (cf. Galatians 5:18). The law was given for a limited period of time, that is, “till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made” (Galatians 3:19 – NKJV).

This does not mean, however, that we are without law toward God, for we are under the law of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:21). The law of Christ consists of the teachings Christ delivered to His disciples and of the teachings that were delivered by the apostles to the saints of old, which are all written in the New Testament. This is the law we must fulfil (cf. Galatians 6:2).

The reason why there has been a change of the law is this: “When there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law” (Hebrews 7:12 – NIV). In other words, since Jesus was made priest not according to the order of Aaron but according to the order of Melchizedek, there was a change of the law for the levitical priesthood was given to the children of Israel on the basis of the law of Moses.

That we are under another law, namely the law of Christ, is evident also from the sermon on the mountain; for during that sermon Jesus said six times: “But I say to you” (Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44). Read carefully the fifth chapter of Matthew and you will realize that Jesus gave a different law, that is, His law. A better law, but also a stricter law than that of Moses. For instance Moses said: “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce” while Jesus said: “Whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 5:31-32 – NKJV). In other words, Moses allowed the Israelites to divorce and to remarry, while Jesus allows a man to send away his wife only because of sexual immorality and to remarry only after his wife’s death.

On the other hand, Christ came into the world to dedicate – through His atoning death - a New Covenant, which is the Covenant that God had promised to make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-12). Therefore it was necessary for God to give a new law. For the Old Covenant was based on the law of Moses, while the New Covenant had to be based on a new law. And this new law is the law of Christ, which is better than the law of Moses, just as the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant (Hebrews 8:6).

Therefore our rule of life is the law of Christ and not the law of Moses. We must walk in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter (cf. Romans 7:6).

Is then the law of Moses sin? Certainly not! For the Scripture says that the law is good if one uses it lawfully (cf. 1 Timothy 1:8). What does it mean to use the law lawfully? It means to use it to show that certain behaviours and practices are an abomination in the sight of God. For the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for man-slayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjures, and for any other thing which is contrary to sound doctrine (cf. 1 Timothy 1:9-10).

 

Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them

 

Reconstructionists are greatly mistaken when they say that a Christian is obligated to keep only a part of the law of Moses, for according to the Scripture, “cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (Galatians 3:10 – NKJV). This means that if you don’t keep the whole law of Moses you are under the curse of the law. In other words, if you want to keep only a part of the law of Moses you are still under the curse of the law for according to the law itself you must observe all the precepts of the law. Did not Paul admonish those believers who were tempted to become circumcised (and circumcision, according to recostructionists, is one of the precepts which are no longer binding), saying: “I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law” (Galatians 5:3 – NKJV)? As you can see, if we think that the law is our rule of life and we observe one precept of the law we are bound to observe all the law So if you don’t blaspheme the name of God, you don’t murder, you don’t commit adultery, etc., but at the same time you don’t keep the sacrificial system, you don’t keep sabbath-day, you don’t keep all the dietary laws and all the other laws (which according to the Reconstructionists have been fulfilled through the death of Christ), you are under the curse of the law for you do not do all the things commanded by the law. Did not James say: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10 - NKJV)? As you can see, if we break only one precept of the law, we are guilty of breaking the whole law. In the light of the teaching of the Scripture, therefore, Reconstrutionists and all those who teach their ideas on the law of Moses, seek to bring Christians under the curse of the law. That’s why their teaching on the law of Moses is to be rejected and refuted with all boldness. Beware of their leaven. Keep the commandments of Christ.

 

The ‘covenantal shift’ is an invention

 

As we saw before, according to the major Reconstructionist thinkers, there has been a ‘covenantal shift’ in regard to sanctions dispensed by the church and sanctions dispensed by the state. Only the state may execute criminals under the New Covenant. For crimes that come under the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical government, the church may excommunicate its members and pronounce imprecations (curses) on sinners. But the church may never execute its members. Here, the way the law is enforced has changed.

This means that not even Reconstrutionists want to keep the law, or rather the judicial laws, for the law says that the apostate must be put to death by the children of Israel, as it is written: “If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you” (Deuteronomy 13:6-11). Therefore, since they say that the Church is Israel, if a member of the Church forsakes the Lord and serves other gods and entices us, saying: ‘Let us go and serve other gods!’ all the members of the Church should stone him. This is what the law commands. Why then do they affirm that the Church may never execute its members? Evidently they do not want to keep all the judicial laws!! They are like those who troubled the Galatians, who wanted the Galatians to be circumcised, of whom Paul said: “Not even those who are circumcised keep the law ….” (Galatians 6:13 – NKJV). I have pointed out to you this evident contradiction so that you may realize how Reconstrutionists are inconsistent.

Brothers, beware of the Reconstructionists, for they want you to be entangled again with a joke of bondage. Keep the law of Christ so that you may keep yourself free.

 

Christians are not called to become political and social activists

 

Christians are people who live in this world but do not belong to this world, that’s what the Scripture teaches. They are pilgrims and strangers on this earth, for they are on their way to an heavenly country, which is far better than the country where they live. They know that their Saviour and Lord said that His kingdom is not of this world (cf. John 18:36), therefore they are not seeking to establish an earthly kingdom of God on the earth. If Jesus, who is their Master, did not seek to establish an earthly Kingdom on the earth, why should they seek to do what their Master did not do?

Listen, brothers, Jesus did not seek to transform the Jewish society in His days, nor did He try to change the laws of the Roman Empire, nor was He involved in political and social activities, for He preached the Gospel of the grace of God, exhorting people to repent and to believe the Gospel. He healed the sick, He cast out demons, He did many signs and wonders, but He never tried to establish a theocracy on the earth. He came to deliver people from their sins, and from the bondage of the law; He did not come into the world to transform the world. We are disciples of Christ and are called to follow His steps, so we must not become political and social activists. We must bring the good news of the grace of God to the people of this world, so that they might repent and believe in the Gospel and their lives be changed. We must also do all kinds of good works so that the name of God may be glorified in us. But nowhere in the Bible we are told to change the society in which we live by changing the laws of our country or by electing Christians to office or by taking dominion over this evil world. Such a command is foreign to the Holy Scripture. Our task is not to change society through social reformation or political activism, but to preach the Gospel of salvation which is able to change the life of all those who accept it. Beware of all those who teach Reconstructionism or Dominion theology, for their teaching is inconsistent with the sound doctrine. The Scripture says: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3 – NKJV). However, Reconstructionists and all those who teach kingdom now theology do not set their minds on the things above, but on things on the earth. They have forgotten the Word of God.

Read carefully the book of the Acts of the apostles and all the epistles, and you will find out that neither the apostles nor the other Christians who lived at that time did attempt to change the society through social reformation or political activism. Do you know why? Because they knew that Christ did not call them to do such a thing. They did not entangle themselves with political and social activism, that they might please the Lord. Let us imitate them. Let us live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age, like the early disciples, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Our attitude toward the governing authorities

 

You may ask now, ‘Since we are not called to become political activists nor to change our society by changing the laws of our nations or the people who are ruling our nation, what kind of attitude should Christians have toward the governing authorities which rule their own nation, since we know that many moral laws are contrary to the Biblical morality? For instance, there are laws which allow people to worship idols, to prostitute themselves, to divorce and remarry, to have an abortion, to marry people of the same sex (homosexual ‘marriages’), to teach evolution in school, to publish immoral magazines, and there are even laws that punish those who preach the Gospel and those who turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, etc.

Well, their attitude should be a submissive and respectful attitude, for the apostle Paul says: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake” (Romans 13:1-5 - NKJV), and Peter says: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good” (1 Peter 2:13-14 – NKJV). Of course, this does not mean that they must obey even the laws which oppose the Gospel and the sound doctrine, for when the governing authorities command them to do something which goes against the Word of God they must disobey them. When the Jewish council said to the apostles ‘Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine!’ the apostles answered: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29 - NKJV). When Shadrac, Meshac and Abed-nego were commanded to worship the image of gold which had been set up in the plain of Dura, they refused to fall down and worship it, lest they should violate the Word of God (cf. Daniel 3:1-30). When the king of Egypt commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill the children of the Hebrew women, they refused to obey Pharaoh (cf. Exodus 1:15-21). Another thing Christians must do when they see that a law of the nation where they live opposes the Word of God is this: they must expose it and refute it through the Scripture. For instance if the law of their nation allows homosexuals to get married, they are called to refute such a law. If the law allows a woman to have an abortion, they must refute that law, and so on.

Last but not least, Christians are called to pray for the governing authorities, that God might save them, give them wisdom to rule, protect them and bless them, so that Christians might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-2).

 

The law was given that sin might abound

 

Reconstructionists teach that the moral law of God, when codified as a basis for civil law, restrains the passion of the sinner (capital punishment is a deterrent to violent crime), and the knowledge of the moral law brings individuals knowledge of sin. Therefore more people may be converted through faith in Christ.

Now it is true that through the law people know what sin is, however it is not true that it restrains the passion of the sinner, for Paul says that “the law was added so that the trespass might increase” (Romans 5:20 - NIV). This means that when the law was given to Israel sin increased. The passions of the sinners were not restrained but were increased through the law of Moses. We are sure, therefore, that if the law of Moses were codified as a basis for civil law in Italy or another nation, sins would increase rather than decrease. However, wickedness will increase in any case - that is, whether the law is codified as a basis for civil law or not – because Jesus Christ said that wickedness will increase and the love of most will grow cold (cf. Matthew 24:12). Let no one deceive you with vain words, therefore; for the present society will go from bad to worse. And when Jesus comes He will not find a Christianized society, but an extremely wicked society.

Let me tell you now a few words about conversions. Even if the law of Moses were codified as a basis for civil law most people would refuse to repent of their sins and believe in the Jesus Christ, for according to the words of Jesus wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it, and strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (cf. Matthew 7:13-14), and many are called but few are chosen (cf. Matthew 22:14). The Church on earth will always be a little flock in comparison to the number of people who live on earth.

Therefore the belief that if the law of God were codified as a basis for civil law the majority of society would be saved (or would at least outwardly conform to God’s law) is wrong. For the Scripture cannot be broken.

 

Beware of the leaven of the Kingdom now teachers

 

Kingdom now theology is a false teaching that must be rejected without hesitation for the following reasons.

1. As I said before, nowhere in the Scripture we are told that we must take control of the kingdoms of this world. When God commanded the first male and female to subdue the earth, He did not mean at all that man had to take dominion over all the kingdoms of the world or that the law of God had to rule all aspects of society, for the kingdoms of the world did not exist at that time and the law had not yet been given to man, but He meant that man had to work the land so that it might bear useful herbs, to cut the trees when they were a hindrance to him or when he needed the woods to build a house or a ship etc., to burn thorns and briers, to dig a well to draw water from it, and to do many other useful things. Man had to subdue also the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every other living creature that moved on the earth. This is what man did and he is still doing all over the world.

Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (cf. Mark 16:15) and to make disciples of all the nations (cf. Matthew 28:19) and He said to His disciples that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:47 – NKJV). But He never said to His disciples that they had to take dominion over the kingdoms of the world or that the kingdoms of this world had to be made obedient to the faith. Kingdom now teachers affirm that the Church has failed for it has not understood what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that they would be witnesses of Him throughout the earth; that is a lie, for the Church has understood correctly the words of Jesus. It is the Kingdom now adherents who have misunderstood the words of Jesus. For to be a witness of Jesus does not mean at all to take dominion of the world, nor to bring all things into obedience to Christ, but it means to speak to all people of His life, of His ministry, of His death and resurrection, of His ascension into heaven and of His return, so that they might believe on Him. This is what Christians have done throughout the centuries. To make disciples of all the nations does not mean that every nation must be discipled, but it means that the Gospel must be preached to all nations so that those who accept it might become disciples of Christ. How many people will accept the Gospel? Only a few, for according to the words of Jesus only a few people find the way that leads to life (cf. Matthew 7:14): they are those who have been appointed to eternal life (cf. Acts 13:48) and whom the Father draws to Christ (cf. John 6:44). This because the salvation of men does not depend on men’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden (cf. Romans 9:16-18). That’s why we don’t affirm that the Church has failed, for we know that only a few people will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that is to say, God will grant to only a few people repentance and faith. Therefore we don’t expect every person to be converted. Nor do we expect our society to conform to Christian principles or to be transformed by Christians. For we know that wickedness will increase and the love of many will grow cold (cf. Matthew 24:12), many false prophets will rise up and deceive many (cf. Matthew 24:11), the disciples of Christ will be hated by all nations (cf. Matthew 24:9), and when Jesus returns the world will be under the rule of the antichrist (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 13:1-18), not under the rule of the Church. This is what the Scripture teaches us. Nevertheless, the Scripture teaches also that the kingdoms of this world will be given to the saints when Jesus returns and destroys the antichrist (cf. Daniel 7:24-27). In other words, when Jesus returns He will establish the Kingdom of God on the earth, and He will reign with His saints for a thousand years. It is at the coming of Christ that the saints will take control of the kingdoms of the world, for Christ will give them authority over the nations (cf. Revelation 2:26).

2. Christian can’t take dominion over this rebellious world, for this world lies under the sway of the wicked one (cf. 1 John 5:19), that is, the devil. He is the prince of this world and the prince of the power of the air and he will continue to deceive this world and to cause the people of the world to commit all kinds of evil things till the return of Christ. For when Jesus returns the devil will be bound for a thousand years, thrown into the abyss which will be locked and sealed over him. When the thousand years are ended he will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which will be devoured by fire and the devil will be cast into the lake of fire (cf. Revelation 20:1-10). Therefore, till the return of Christ the devil will work in the sons of disobedience and walk about the saints like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (cf. 1 Peter 5:8). And consequently Christians will have to resist the devil, lest they fall into the snare of the devil. Therefore, in the light of the teaching of the Scripture, the devil will not be put under the feet of Christ until he is cast into the lake of fire, that is, until the end of the Millennium reign. Only when the thousand-year reign is over, will the devil be put under the feet of Christ and crushed under our feet (cf. Romans 16:20). Of course, Christ has destroyed the devil and triumphed over him through His death and resurrection; and we who are disciples of Christ have overcome the devil by the blood of Christ and by the word of our testimony (cf. Revelation 12:11), but this does not mean that before the coming of Christ we will be able to put Satan under our feet, for as I said before the devil will be free to deceive the nations till the return of Christ, and for a short time after the millennium reign as well. We can resist the devil, and we know that when we resist him he flees from us (cf. James 4:7), but we can’t put him under our feet. We can cast out demons but we can’t cast them into the lake of fire so that they might not harm people any longer. That’s why we can’t establish the Kingdom of God on the earth: because God will allow the devil to deceive the people of the world and to work in them till the return of Christ, and for a short time after the millennium reign. It is not true, therefore, that the Church has all authority in heaven and on the earth. The Church has authority, but its authority is subject to the will of God. In other words, the Church can’t bind Satan nor can it put him under its feet, for at the moment God does not want to put Satan under the feet of the Church. I will give a practical example: the Church can’t say to the devil, ‘Devil I bind you and cast you into the lake of fire, so you will be no longer able to deceive this world!’ for this is a command the devil will not obey. For God has decided that the devil is to be bound at the return of Christ by an angel, and he is to be cast into the lake of fire at the end of the millennium. The Church is not allowed to go against the Word of God, but must be subject to the Word of God.

In the light of the above mentioned reasons, the ‘new revelations’ given to the Church by the so called latter day apostles and prophets are nothing but lies. And inasmuch as these ‘revelations’ are lies, they must be refuted privately and publicly. Even if these so called new revelations are confirmed by signs and wonders done in the name of Jesus Christ, they must be rejected and refuted for they contradict the truth which is in Christ Jesus. The purpose of these ‘new revelations’ is to make Christians become carnally minded and we know that those who become carnally minded become enemies of God, as it is written that “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7 - NKJV). Thus their purpose is an evil purpose. Let us take for instance the ‘new revelation’ according to which Christians are gods or little gods who can speak into existence what they desire by claiming their ‘divine right’; is it not a revelation whose purpose is to make Christians become enemies of God, since those who accept it become haughty and they think that God is ‘compelled’ to fulfil all their desires? Of course it is. Let us now take for instance the new revelation called ‘prosperity message’ according to which Christians must be prosperous, that is, materially rich, on the earth, for the riches which are on the earth belong to them and thus they must take control of them by faith; is it not a revelation whose purpose is to cause Christians to stray from the faith, for those who accept it think that they must be rich in order to demonstrate the Kingdom of God on the earth and make all efforts to become rich, and thus they stray from the faith for Paul says that “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Timothy 6:9 – NKJV)? Of course it is. Let us now take for example the revelation according to which a Christian can’t be sick for sickness is never the will of God for any Christian; is it not a revelation whose purpose is to make Christians believe that God can’t strike a Christians with sickness and leave him sick till his death or that a Christian can’t die of sickness, while the Scripture teaches that sometimes God causes His children to die of sickness even though they believe that God can heal them (the Scripture says that the prophet Elisha – who was a man of God full of faith – became “sick with the illness of which he would die” 2 Kings 13:14 – NKJV)? Of course, it is. Let us take now for instance another well known ‘new revelation,’ which says that you can receive from God whatever you want, just name it and claim it in faith and you will surely get it; is it not a revelation whose purpose is to make Christians believe that God has not a will of His own, or rather that whatever we desire is according to His will, so He will surely give us anything we ask, while the Scripture teaches us that God hears us if what we ask of Him is according to His will (cf. 1 John 5:14)? Therefore I urge you, brethren, to reject these ‘new revelations’ taught by these well known ‘apostles’ and ‘prophets’, who are enemies of the cross of Jesus Christ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things.

 

 

 

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