Of course the Lord God is the one on the throne (Judges 21:25; 1 Sam 8:7; Rev 19:16)! There’s never been a time when the universe has been left untended, so there’s always been a kingdom — frequently mentioned in the Old Testament (Psa 103:19; Isa 37:16; Jer 10:10). And by virtue of his resurrection, Jesus Christ has been enthroned. A crucial, yet too-often skimmed, section of Peter’s Pentecost message is Acts 2:29-36. Jesus began to reign after this series of events: Resurrection — Ascension — Accession. Because of his resurrection, he ascends to heaven to accede to the throne of God. Ultimately, according to Paul, Jesus will hand over the kingdom to the Father (1 Cor 15:24).
Since there has always been a king, it follows that there has always been a kingdom. But what exactly is a kingdom? After a brief digression, we’ll attempt to answer that question.
Kouame Koudou I
About 10 years ago, before thousands of Ivorians and on national television, I was made an honorary chief. The elders led me in procession, special robes were given, and I was enthroned under the (French African) name Kouame Koudou le Premier. (Kouame for Sunday, the day of the enthronement, Koudou — an antelope, presumably for my athleticism [kidding], and le Premier because I was first in my family to receive this title.) It was quite an honor. When my kids heard about it, they thought that was so cool. (“Guess what? My dad’s an African chief!”) But wait a minute. I may be a chief, who are my subjects? And where is my territory? And has anyone seen my throne?
Of course this sort of thinking isn’t like the message of Jesus. When he explained the kingdom, he never delivered tidy definitions or implied that the God’s kingdom is only a celestial version of our own earthly kingdoms. They are institutional, yet the kingdom of God can never be equated with an institution! Rather, Jesus began his explanations, “The kingdom… is like…” (Matt 13:24, 31, 33, 34, 45, 47; 18:23; 22:2). Which brings us to the second half of our lesson.
Kingdom: Rule vs. Realm
There are two meanings of kingdom we are concerned with. One is realm, the other is rule. The realm is all territory over which God is sovereign. It becomes clear that this means the entire universe. Since the Lord is king forever and ever (Psalm 10:16), this sense of kingdom does not change.
Whereas the realm is universal — even God’s enemies are in that kingdom — God rules the hearts of his subjects only when they are willing. His reign, or rule, comprises the sphere of obedience. Naturally in this sense the kingdom is far, far more than the church of Christ. It includes the quick and the dead — humans, obedient angels, and other celestial powers. Thus to limit the kingdom, as some do, to those alive today who are committed Christians is a narrow view indeed.
Instructor of angels?
13 years ago, in an effort to recognize a serious need for biblical teaching in our fellowship, a small group of men were publicly recognized as “kingdom teachers.” Understanding the kingdom to include myriad beings in the entire cosmos, we couldn’t help but chuckle (and never actually used our title). For to be a teacher in the kingdom would require us to teach angels, not just men; the dead as well as the living. (And the Bible forbids communication with the dead.) I opted for the more modest “Director of Education.” We may not like to hear it, but put bluntly, the kingdom is not the church — much less a single fellowship.
Thy kingdom come?
Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Note the parallelism: the kingdom coming is identified with God’s will being done. This is not a prayer for the kingdom to “come” at Pentecost, for the kingdom continues to come wherever and whenever God’s will is done. More on in the next lesson.
Kingdom has two senses. Every being in the world is in the kingdom in the broader sense — God’s realm. There are many beings within his realm — apparently the large majority — who are not living under his rule. Prizing their own autonomy, they refuse to honor Jesus Christ as Lord (Luke 19:27). God’s kingdom in the second sense is his rule, voluntarily accepted in the hearts of his subjects. When and where God’s will is done, there is the kingdom.
Having laid a foundation for going forward, hopefully now we’re prepared to appreciate the message of the kingdom. It’s vastly misunderstood, deceptively simple, exciting beyond our wildest dreams, and crucial to grasp if we are to be true followers of the King. Till next week…
The Matrix is one of the greatest metaphors ever. Machines invented to make human life easier end up enslaving humanity – this is the most common theme in dystopian science fiction.
Why is this fear so universal – so compelling? Is it because we really believe that our toaster and our notebook will end up as our mechanical overlords?
Of course not.
This is not a future that we fear, but a past that we are already living.
Supposedly, governments were invented to make human life easier and safer, but governments always end up enslaving humanity.
That which we create to “serve” us ends up ruling us.
The US government “by and for the people” now imprisons millions, takes half the national income by force, over-regulates, punishes, tortures, slaughters foreigners, invades countries, overthrows governments, imposes 700 imperialistic bases overseas, inflates the currency, and crushes future generations with massive debts.
That which we create to “serve” us ends up ruling us.
The problem with the “state as servant” thesis is that it is historically completely false, both empirically and logically.
The idea that states were voluntarily invented by citizens to enhance their own security is utterly untrue.
Before governments, in tribal times, human beings could only produce what they consumed — there was no excess production of food or other resources. Thus, there was no point owning slaves, because the slave could not produce any excess that could be stolen by the master.
If a horse pulling a plow can only produce enough additional food to feed the horse, there is no point hunting, capturing and breaking in a horse.
However, when agricultural improvements allowed for the creation of excess crops, suddenly it became highly advantageous to own human beings.
When cows began to provide excess milk and meat, owning cows became worthwhile.
The earliest governments and empires were in fact a ruling class of slave hunters, who understood that because human beings could produce more than they consumed, they were worth hunting, capturing, breaking in – and owning.
The earliest Egyptian and Chinese empires were in reality human farms, where people were hunted, captured, domesticated and owned like any other form of livestock. Due to technological and methodological improvements, the slaves produced enough excess that the labor involved in capturing and keeping them represented only a small subset of their total productivity. The ruling class – the farmers – kept a large portion of that excess, while handing out gifts and payments to the brutalizing class – the police, slave hunters, and general sadists – and the propagandizing class – the priests, intellectuals, and artists.
This situation continued for thousands of years, until the 16-17th centuries, when again massive improvements in agricultural organization and technology created the second wave of excess productivity. The enclosure movement re-organized and consolidated farmland, resulting in 5-10 times more crops, creating a new class of industrial workers, displaced from the country and huddling in the new cities.
This enormous agricultural excess was the basis of the capital that drove the industrial revolution.
The Industrial Revolution did not arise because the ruling class wanted to free their serfs, but rather because they realized how additional “liberties” could make their livestock astoundingly more productive.
When cows are placed in very confining stalls, they beat their heads against the walls, resulting in injuries and infections. Thus farmers now give them more room — not because they want to set their cows free, but rather because they want greater productivity and lower costs.
The next stop after “free range” is not “freedom.”
The rise of state capitalism in the 19th century was actually the rise of “free range serfdom.”
Additional liberties were granted to the human livestock not with the goal of setting them free, but rather with the goal of increasing their productivity.
Of course, intellectuals, artists and priests were – and are – well paid to conceal this reality.
The great problem of modern human livestock ownership is the challenge of “enthusiasm.”
State capitalism only works when the entrepreneurial spirit drives creativity and productivity in the economy.
However, excess productivity always creates a larger state, and swells the ruling classes and their dependents, which eats into the motivation for additional productivity. Taxes and regulations rise, state debt (future farming) increases, and living standards slow and decay.
Depression and despair began to spread, as the reality of being owned sets in for the general population.
The solution to this is additional propaganda, antidepressant medications, superstition, wars, moral campaigns of every kind, the creation of “enemies,” the inculcation of patriotism, collective fears, paranoia about “outsiders” and “immigrants,” and so on.
It is essential to understand the reality of the world.
When you look at a map of the world, you are not looking at countries, but farms.
You are allowed certain liberties – limited property ownership, movement rights, freedom of association and occupation – not because your government approves of these rights in principle – since it constantly violates them – but rather because “free range livestock” is so much cheaper to own and so more productive.
It is important to understand the reality of ideologies.
State capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism, democracy – these are all livestock management approaches.
Some work well for long periods – state capitalism – and some work very badly – communism.
They all fail eventually, because it is immoral and irrational to treat human beings as livestock.
The recent growth of “freedom” in China, India and Asia is occurring because the local state farmers have upgraded their livestock management practices. They have recognized that putting the cows in a larger stall provides the rulers more milk and meat.
Rulers have also recognized that if they prevent you from fleeing the farm, you will become depressed, inert and unproductive. A serf is the most productive when he imagines he is free. Thus your rulers must provide you the illusion of freedom in order to harvest you most effectively.
Thus you are “allowed” to leave – but never to real freedom, only to another farm, because the whole world is a farm. They will prevent you from taking a lot of money, they will bury you in endless paperwork, they will restrict your right to work — but you are “free” to leave. Due to these difficulties, very few people do leave, but the illusion of mobility is maintained. If only 1 out of 1,000 cows escapes, but the illusion of escaping significantly raises the productivity of the remaining 999, it remains a net gain for the farmer.
You are also kept on the farm through licensing. The most productive livestock are the professionals, so the rulers fit them with an electronic dog collar called a “license,” which only allows them to practice their trade on their own farm.
To further create the illusion of freedom, in certain farms, the livestock are allowed to choose between a few farmers that the investors present. At best, they are given minor choices in how they are managed. They are never given the choice to shut down the farm, and be truly free.
Government schools are indoctrination pens for livestock. They train children to “love” the farm, and to fear true freedom and independence, and to attack anyone who questions the brutal reality of human ownership. Furthermore, they create jobs for the intellectuals that state propaganda so relies on.
The ridiculous contradictions of statism — like religion — can only be sustained through endless propaganda inflicted upon helpless children.
The idea that democracy and some sort of “social contract” justifies the brutal exercise of violent power over billions is patently ridiculous.
If you say to a slave that his ancestors “chose” slavery, and therefore he is bound by their decisions, he will simply say:
“If slavery is a choice, then I choose not to be a slave.”
This is the most frightening statement for the ruling classes, which is why they train their slaves to attack anyone who dares speak it.
Statism is not a philosophy.
Statism does not originate from historical evidence or rational principles.
Statism is an ex post facto justification for human ownership.
Statism is an excuse for violence.
Statism is an ideology, and all ideologies are variations on human livestock management practices.
Religion is pimped-out superstition, designed to drug children with fears that they will endlessly pay to have “alleviated.”
Nationalism is pimped-out bigotry, designed to provoke a Stockholm Syndrome in the livestock.
The opposite of superstition is not another superstition, yet the truth.
The opposite of ideology is not a different ideology, but clear evidence and rational principles.
The opposite of superstition and ideology – of statism – is philosophy.
Reason and courage will set us free.
You do not have to be livestock.
Take the red pill.