Only One True Kingdom

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I hadn’t intended to post on today’s topic, but a friend sent this and told me it was essential viewing:


The Bible says this:

Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.
—1 Thessalonians 5:20-21

I do not despise prophecy by any means, but I do test prophecies against Scripture and by the Holy Spirit of God.

So that is what I will do.

God’s chosen people called for an earthly government in 1 Samuel 8:

When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba.

Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD.

And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 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.” And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
—1 Samuel 8:1-22

The chosen people of God were hard-hearted toward Him. They were not satisfied with His Kingdom; they desired instead an earthly, geopolitical kingdom. One that would be like their pagan neighbors. How they longed to be just like those who did not know God! And so this is what God gave them.

Do we remember that this led, in part, to God’s chosen nation going into exile? To the destruction of their way of life? To untold suffering?

When it comes to commentary on people’s dealings with geopolitical systems, this is about all I could recall of direct commentary by the Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry:

[The scribes and the chief priests asked Jesus,] “Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
—Luke 20:22-25

When asked of his political intentions, Jesus gave this answer:

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
—John 18:36

He also said this:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. “
—Matthew 13:45-46

When you sell all that you have to gain the Heavenly Kingdom, there is not much left over for earthly pretenders.

Paul didn’t say much about geopolitical systems, either:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
—Romans 13:1-8

Paul didn’t say that Christians should live in fear of whatever party may come into office, but should instead fear God, who takes out His holy vengeance against those who fail to live a life that is pure and holy.

We see this in ancient Rome. What earthly kingdom could have had a more anti-Christ bent than Rome? Yet without one vote, Christians led to the toppling of the Caesars. They did this through the sacrifice of their own martyred blood in the Colosseum, the ministry of the Gospel among the disadvantaged of the city, their care for the sick, the hungry, the naked, the widow, and the orphan. Indeed, in their allegiance to one Kingdom above all others, the only lasting Kingdom, they brought down one of the most powerful earthly kingdoms in history.

And this leads me to the invoking in the video above of an Old Testament passage that many Christians love to pull out and dust off every four years. In case many of us don’t remember, some Christians have been invoking this passage for at least 30 years, and probably more. Like the boy who cried wolf, every four years Christians pull out this passage to ensure that the faithful understand that “This Election Is the Most Critical One Our Nation Has Ever Faced.™”

The passage in question:

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

—2 Chronicles 7:14

God speaks this to Solomon after the completion of the temple in which He would dwell.

Consider then that today God does not live in a temple constructed of human hands by flawed kings. Instead, He made us and filled us with Himself. We are His temples.

Consider also that we live under a New Covenant that is better than the Old Covenant.

Consider that the Kingdom of God that is better than any earthly Kingdom is now among us because the One True King has come.

Do you know how God heals the land now that the True King has come? That King told us how. He showed us, the temples of His Holy Spirit, the people of a better covenant, the ones who are a part of an unearthly Kingdom, how God heals lands:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
—Matthew 28:18-20

When Christians repent of their sins and distractions (including political distractions), when they humble themselves and cast off their mistaken notions of power, when they pray to stay true to the focus of the only genuine Kingdom, then God will heal their land through their sharing of the Good News with the lost and the making of disciples. When Christians live out the high calling of the Gospel before earthly kingdoms and shame those unworthy imitations with their service to the only True Kingdom, then God will heal their land.

But when Christians look to earthly kingdoms, when Christians take their focus off the Lord and put their faith in power systems rooted in sin and compromise,  they will wind up off course, off message, off purpose, and ultimately disappointed. God does not heal the land through man’s elections but through Christians living out their allegiance to Christ’s unearthly Kingdom by concentrating on making disciples and serving the least of these no matter what government is in power.

The Christians in Rome understood this, but for all our supposed modern enlightenment, we do not. Nor do our “prophets.”

I want to end with that statement. I have some additional thoughts I’ll add in the comments. Please feel free to add your own.

40 thoughts on “Only One True Kingdom

  1. Other comments:

    Prophecy is rooted in fear of the Lord, not fear of the wrong denizens in the White House, not even fear of an uncertain future.

    The person in the video seems assured that “#2” is God’s team for the White House. It doesn’t take much discernment to know she is speaking of McCain/Palin. It’s a little alarming to me that she seems to be implying that God cannot accomplish His will unless the GOP ticket is in office (or the Democratic ticket is not). So much for God’s sovereignty.

    As I noted last week, our responsibility in voting is to represent the Kingdom of God. We do not compromise. We do not support candidates who make concessions to evil. That may mean that we must vote for someone outside the two major parties. It may mean that we write in a God-fearing candidate. It may mean that we vote for no one in a particular race if a godly candidate has not been revealed to us by the Lord. Our focus is not in ensuring we vote for the winning side or that we cast our vote against someone wicked, but that we vote in a way that honors the Lord and shows us to understand that Christ has no fellowship with Belial.

    Am I the only one who is reading the subtext here that “Deborah = Sarah Palin”? I really hope that is not what is being claimed, but I believe it is.

    Christians have put their faith in the Republican Party for decades. Christians went off their rockers to endorse George W. Bush, whose second term has been one of the most impotent presidencies since Jimmy Carter graced the Oval Office. We have been told repeatedly that it’s all about Supreme Court nominations, yet Republicans have elected “conservative” judges to the Supreme Court and those same judges have voted anti-conservative time and again. I was born in 1962, and Republicans have been in office 28 of my years, yet our country has never been worse off in my lifetime. We are not learning the lessons I wrote about in my post.

    I am alarmed by the elaborate dance in the video to avoid naming names. God is not afraid to name names. Prophets name names. People who are afraid that the IRS will swoop in and remove their tax-exempt status don’t.

    Folks: Make disciples. Do the work the Lord called us to. The Lord is in control. We know how this all ends. If that future comes now or later, it is still coming. He told us so. Maranatha.

    • Dan, I don’t think there’s any subtext. It’s all text.
      (BTW – you do know that Rome had been Christian for a solid 100 years before it “fell”, right? And they kept the Caesars that whole time?)

  2. Marie

    Wow. That video made me sick to my stomach. And your comment and previous posts make me feel dirty because I voted for saving babies.

    I was determined that I was going to write in my husband’s name for President but when it came down to it, I voted, not for someone, but for life. But now, after reading your post, I feel convicted that my faith has not been in God, but in government – like God can’t accomplish His will without the US government!

    Ugh!!!! 🙁

    All I can do is pray that the LORD will help my unbelief.

    Thank you for standing firm, Dan. The LORD has used your posts to open my eyes and build my faith. I pray His protection over you as you speak out boldly for Truth.

    • Marie,

      There is nothing wrong with voting to save babies. Personally, I consider that baseline. I don’t believe that Christians can reflect the Kingdom of God in their voting if they vote for candidates who hate the lives of the most helpless among us. Candidates who support martyring children on the altar of selfishness are unworthy of any office, even dogcatcher.

      That does not mean that there are not better candidates who support the rest of God’s Kingdom in addition to being pro-life. Being pro-life is only one important aspect of this. We must consider that only a part of what we must consider. We may end up voting for a pro-life candidate who is godly but not part of an established party.

  3. robert

    Dan, thanks for exposing this.

    Lots of people these days want to be prophets.

    Production style straight from Thespian 101 class at TBN. Repetitive words, screaming crescendos, raised hands, clapping audience at end of crescendo, musical accompaniment, the whole nine yards.

    “Ohio, Ohio, Ohio”.

    She doesn’t meet any of the Biblical criteria of a prophet.

    How utterly deplorable.

    • Robert,

      I hold open he possibility that genuine prophets may use unusual means. The OT is filled with unusual prophetic activities.

      But ALL prophets, no matter how unusual, must adhere to the word of God.

      • Don Fields

        None that I know of. But, seeing as there are a multitude of different Baptist groups, many of which I am unaware of, there is always a slim possibility that one exists.

        • Don Fields

          John Piper from Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis, MN, is a “cautious continuationist” but I’m not sure of his stance on modern prophecy. I’m pretty sure his position is not the position of the Baptist General Conference of which his church is affiliated.

  4. Ron

    Dan,
    Though in my previous comments on the subject I was hesitant to say how I would personally vote, I do want you to know that I do agree with you about voting our conscience even if the candidate isn’t on the ballot. With so many around to make me feel as if I’m wasting my vote (I do not believe so), your posts have given me space to sort through some things, and now I feel even more at peace regarding my decision. Thanks.

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  6. At this point, I think I might write in Jesus Christ just to make a point. I’ve considered 3rd party candidates, but my problem at this point is that we’re so far removed from the candidates that we can only look at their voting records and guess. If I don’t know what you’re doing behind closed doors, I don’t want the “blood” of your vote on my hands. Make sense? Still thinking that one through.

    In any event, great post Dan. I’m a first time visitor, and I plan on coming back.

  7. Tammi

    Please! As my pastor says “you dont have to be a prophet to see the grass grow.” Anyone that is educated in modern elections can tell you that no modern president has won an election without winning the state of Ohio.

    It is made very clear in the book of Daniel that God has the rulers of the nations, good or bad, under control. Vote responsibly and pray for the leader of our nation, who ever it may be. But, the real prayer need is for the repentance and salvation of our people.

  8. Brian

    First off let me say that if you live in Ohio and miss this video and didn’t pray, I guess you cost us the election.

    But seriously, there are two kinds of prophecy — unconditional and conditional.

    unconditional is where God says he will just do something. Conditional is where God will do something if we do something.

    This video starts out in the conditional. If you intercede, then God will do….what will he do? I missed that part of the video. Anyways.

    But then it gets into the Deborah part. And apparently God has set Palin as the number two and as a Deborah. Which, as we know, is a judge and prophet. This part seems unconditional.

    And its here that I’m unsure of the unconditional versus the conditional. If God has set Palin as a Deborah, but we must intercede…what does that mean?

    God has given us our opportunity to elect a godly leader, only if Ohio intercedes and cries for mercy?

    The RCP average right now for Ohio is Obama +4 points. According to RCP there are 8 other states still considered toss ups. Of those 8, only one has Big Mac ahead.

    Unless there is an October surprise, Obama will win big. Maybe she meant Biden was Deborah.

    Oh thats right its conditional prophecy. I guess Ohio didn’t pray enough that’s why the prophecy didn’t come to pass.

  9. All I can say is Thank you. That 2 Chronicles verse has got to be one of the most out-of-context, misquoted verses in the Bible, and always for political purposes. It makes me crazy. So thank you for your discerning observations about the new covenant, and how God will heal our land as we make disciples. You help to keep us correctly focused, especially during this season.

  10. The only vision that has come to me was second-hand … the one Daniel interpreted for Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2.

    So, last Sunday morning while I was teaching my class from the text in 1 Samuel 12, I pointed out that Samuel is among the few departing leaders of a nation who could honestly claim (and be affirmed by his constituency!) that he had not done wrong by anyone during his entire term of office.

    Four years ago, I had stunned some of them by asking “Wouldn’t it be nice if all our departing presidents could say, ‘I kept my pants zipped my whole term’ or ‘I didn’t start a war in the wrong country and then pay for it by cutting taxes’?” A few of them remembered that.

    Then I pointed out that all our candidates, presidential and otherwise, are basically folks just like us: imperfect, stumbling, occasionally or often failing. They have feet of clay, just like the statue envisioned by Nebuchadnezzar.

    But, as Samuel points out, God is our King. He has always been our King. And, “If you fear the LORD and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the LORD your God-good! But if you do not obey the LORD, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your fathers.” (v. 14-15)

    I don’t really think that’s changed since the Old Covenant.

    At least, God hasn’t.

  11. Dan,
    Thanks for the post, and what a sad commentary on the state of the eldership in that community. I wonder if that “word” was judged in accordance with scripture or just allowed to fly off.

    More importantly to me is the fact that so few believers seem to understand that we who are in Christ constitute a new nation, a holy people, a chosen race. If there is no Greek or Jew, male or female, then there certainly is nor republican or democrat. We must be like Abraham who refused to look back at the country he exited so that he might gain a better country – a heavenly one.

    Indeed, if we would be about the business of manifesting the one true kingdom in the midst of the world we would quickly lose our fascination with the goings-on of the earthly kingdoms.

    Thanks again.

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  13. connie

    It pays to look at this whole election season with spiritual eyes and not with natural.

    Pray, and then cast your vote, period.

    As for the word, I think most of you are taking it the wrong way. She’s not prophesying a winner. She’s talking about a national mindset. And I think God has set this thing up as a mirror to this nation.

    Again, don’t look at it as prophesying a winner. That’s not what the word is about.

    And I say that as the spouse of someone who is incredibly active in local political stuff, and who is called to be salt and light in a pretty “interesting” realm.

    • Connie,

      I have no problem with anyone calling for prayer and intercession for godly leadership, but this went beyond that. It tried to shoehorn that call with a specified plea that I did not feel was in keeping with Scripture. Given the allegiances of the group behind the woman giving the word and its strong links to The Call rallies, it’s almost impossible to contend that this is simply a call to prayer and intercession for nothing else but godly leadership.

  14. Gosh, reading the comments here I get the feeling that everybody would have been happier if the lady had prophesied as follows:

    “Obama is unstoppable. Obama is my rod of judgement, he is my Obama-chadnezzer, my instrument whereby ye american xtians shall be severely punishment for your wickednesses and inquities, your latte-sipping ways, and lack of sophisticated theological training. Think not that ye shall escape, for Obama’s armies shall enter into this place, and upon you they verily shall bring marvelous destruction and great devastation. Your houses shall lie desolate for 70 years, and ye shall bcome a horror and a curse and a hissing for all Americans who behold you. Thus shall all of you go into captivity, and what ye have feared shall come swiftly upon you. And ye shall be taken away to the land of North Dakota, where Obama-chadnezzer shall have prepared gulags to receive you. And there ye shall freeze and pine away in horror and astonishment at all the evil that has befallen you.”

    Is above the prophecy what you want to hear? It really amazes me how nobody here is really listening to what the lady was saying. The emphasis of her message was on prayer and intercession, and on being careful not to look on mere outward appearances but instead to remember that His perspective often looks upside-down compared to yours. For example, who knows if God’s plans for Sarah Palin extend beyond just this election? Why is everybody so sure that the opposite must be true? Prayer, intercession, asking for mercy, looking at things differently from the eyes of faith? Isn’t that what building up people’s faith that He is in control is all about? What is wrong with you people?

    And as for the lady’s agitated deliverance, all I can say is “so what?” It is not the refinementy of delivery that is all important, because anyone gifted prophetically knows that at best we can only “prophesy in part.” There are no PhDs in prophecy—God uses greenhorns and amateurs. And doesn’t anybody think that the Almighty isn’t aware of what’s going on in this country? That He has nothing to speak for our situation?

    Shame on everybody for slandering the woman.

    • robert g

      No one has slandered her.

      The woman’s contrived histrionics and obfuscatory style speak for themselves. Perhaps she is well-intentioned – who knows ?

      If she is a true prophet, what new information has she provided that is not already in scripture ?

    • Oengus,

      This morning, I asked an elder and two other “rocks” of our church whether people should be praying for specific people to be in specific places in government. All three said no. We should be praying that God would raise up godly leaders—period. The elder noted that it was always a bad idea to assume that “our man” is the right one for office.

      The woman who gave the word wasn’t following that guideline. Like I wrote to Connie above, it would have been fine if she stopped at the prayer and intercession part. But she went WAAAAY over that line.

      Even then, the fascination with politics, and Christian fascination in particular, paints us into this position of considering earthly kingdoms to be more helpful than heavenly ones. We end of being citizens of earthly kingdoms first and heavenly ones second. That’s the wrong order.

      Although her delivery is a little over the top, no one who reads the OT can claim that the prophets then were not “unusual” in their deliveries. Still, I can’t tamp down the feeling that she added herself to whatever she believes she received from God, and that’s not right. If God told her to act the way she did, then that’s fine. I’m just not convinced He did (or in the purity of the message). Like I noted in my post, her word just does not seem to square with Scripture.

  15. Brian

    Oengus,

    Greetings. You sound surprised to see unfavorable views to this video. But you shouldn’t be. There are more and more believers coming out of this type of faith expression that are casting their eyes back on it with a much more analytical view. It is much easier to be objective and see the forest from the trees. To see what does and does not stand up to biblical scrutiny. As Dan points out, we are to judge prophecy.

    As for your assessment of what you believe was actually said in the video. While your statements are accurate, generically, they are also not prophetic. These are simple statements taken from some verses in the bible, i.e. prayer and intercession and not looking on outward appearances. These things could have been stated without assuming the posture of speaking for God.

    But that isn’t the problem. There are some facts from the video that you did not include. The use of Ohio and No. 2 in the context of elections and scripture. So no, this lady isn’t being generically vague in her prophecy, i.e. encouraging or edifying for prayer/intercession and not judging outward appearances. She is being specific to the current events in her prophetic utterance.

    To say Sarah Palin will have some impact after the election if she loses isn’t prophetic. I listened to a network news anchor make the same comment weeks ago. By Big Macs choosing of her as the V.P. candidate he has elevated her to a national stage. Her name is household common now. Anything she does will be monitored. And certainly if things go well for her in the next four years she has proven she is liked by the GOP for another go.

    Ohio is not prophetic either. Its a battleground state. Its up for grabs. But there are several other states too that are in the same situation.

    I have seen these prophecies before, i.e. vague, conditional, yet “inspired.” They sound like something, until you start to actually think about what is said. Then they don’t make much sense. And more so when nothing comes of them.

    Folks who have left this strain of faith have been here too many times and have finally caught on that all this is is self-inspired guessing. A desire to be spiritual. There is nothing new about these ecstatic utterances. They have been with us for a long time and have had little to no effect on national issues.

    But don’t worry. If these things are from God than his word will be yea and amen. And let all others, me, be wrong. But if they are not, then what are you defending?

  16. Here’s something to read: http://www.lulu.com/content/917530, book entitled One Nation Over God: The Americanization of Christianity. American Christians seem to love America more than Jesus, and sacrifice both to defend their right to be American. It’s an idolatry, and idolatry is at the base of all true prophecy. Not only is it an idolatry of America, it is an idolatry of the democratic process, an idolatry of capitalism, an idolatry of individualism, and an idolatry of freedom. It’s not about our freedom, our personhood, the way we make money, the way we choose leaders, or where we live. It’s about the kingdom of God.

  17. Pingback: Something to consider « Susannah Prill’s Weblog

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