“…Reason is not a repository of infallible, religiously autonomous truths…it is simply a human capacity, the ability to reason from premises. The important question, then, is what a person accepts as ultimate premises, for they shape everything that follows.” (Pearcey, Total Truth, p.41)
Jesus sits on the throne of David, as the King of kings. But we modern Christians forget that there is more than one throne.
David writes in Psalm 122:
Jerusalem— built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David. (Psalm 122:3-5)(ESV)
Who sits on these other thrones?
Who is the Greatest?
In the gospel of Luke, in the context of the last supper, the disciples begin arguing over who will be regarded as the greatest. Who is going to be chief viceroy in the Messiah’s new kingdom?
Jesus responds by talking about the rulers of the Gentiles, and how the disciples should not be like them. He concludes with:
And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29,30)
Matthew records a similar exchange in chapter 19, but including the word “twelve” before “thrones”, giving greater significance to the apostles. This flows into Revelation 21:14, where the apostles are seen as the foundations of the New Jerusalem, the capital city of the new heavens and new earth. Thrones. Foundations. Living stones, with one cornerstone: Christ.
What’s remarkable is what Jesus does not say during these exchanges. He does not rebuke them saying that his kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. He does not roll his eyes and say “You are thinking too much like first century Jews. The kingdom is purely in the heavenly realm, and is about personal salvation. There aren’t really any rulers in the sense you are thinking about. Read more Plato.”
What does he say? He tells them to be better rulers than the Gentile rulers. To be the greatest ruler in the new kingdom, one would need to be a servant instead. Put another way, “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.”
But there are more living stones than just the apostles. (1 Pet. 2:5)
More than Just Twelve Thrones
This promise of authority in the new kingdom is not just for the Twelve. 1 Corinthians is packed full of similar language.
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (1 Cor. 3:21-23)
Paul rebukes the Corinthians for taking fellow believers to pagan courts. Why does he say this practice is wrong?
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? (1 Cor. 6:2-4)(ESV)
Since Christ has been resurrected and enthroned, things have changed, and the old order has been turned upside down. The church should be acting as if this is true, instead of pretending it isn’t. When the Corinthians brought a fellow brother before a pagan judge, they were pretending that Christ was still in the grave, and that he wasn’t really King of kings and Lord of lords. Because if they really believed that Christ is King, they would know that they should be able to handle such trivial matters themselves.
Because they will help judge the world, and with it, those very same pagan judges.
By going to pagan judges to settle church or “kingdom” matters, they were acting like the Israelites of old, reversing the conquest of the land. Or plundering the temple to pay off foreign kings.
I have explained elsewhere that the promise of Abraham was really for the inheritance of the world, and that through Christ, as the new Israel, we are the recipients of the same promise. The twelve tribes of Israel have now been expanded to include all of the nations of the earth, and the promised land expanded to mean the entire world.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5)
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom. 8:17)
“…we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37)
You have a throne and crown waiting for you. You are a fellow heir of the King of kings. You are part of his body. What he possesses, you possess. You have a throne of David waiting for you.
And are you going to be timid? Are you going to act as if you are never going to wear your crown? Are you going to despise your inheritance?
1. Calling mere cohabitation what it really is, and bringing back the word concubine.
In the past 40 years, it seems, concubinage has come to light again under a different name. Like ancient concubinage, contemporary cohabitation is a deliberately ambiguous relationship. The partners make no promises and have no legal obligations to one another.
2. Divine or God-directed Evolution? This posits that the church at large will eventually accept some form of evolution, and most already have, and that this is a good thing. The author compares it to birth control and flat earth beliefs, but that’s like comparing the roots of one tree to a single branch of another. This ignores the inherent culture of death that is permeated when evolution is the overarching foundation story of a culture. There is a reason why this doctrine has been a bloody battleground. The formal acceptance by the church at large would be a travesty.
What this says to me is that in another generation or two this issue of evolution will become an non-issue to American evangelicals. It is already a non-issue to Catholic believers and Protestants outside of America. Current controversies often disappear in time.
Hugh Hefner is a perverted old man who used his position and power within the industry of pornography to secure sexual conquests. At present, he’s at the end of his life. Those people at his parties aren’t his friends. Those women around him keeping the king warm in the cold of his twilight could care less. They’re only there because of his money and power.
4. Tips for writers of detective fiction. 24 fun and interesting facts about reality from someone with actual experience.
When a bullet from a Colt’s .45, or any firearm of approximately the same size and power, hits you, even if not in a fatal spot, it usually knocks you over. It is quite upsetting at any reasonable range.
5. Book expert from A Meal with Jesus. Tim Challies adds some of his own thoughts at the end about hospitality.
One of the wisest things Aileen and I did when we first got married was ensure that we had no television in the house. One of the most foolish things we did was introduce one as soon as she got pregnant. More foolish still was eating far too many meals in front of it.
6. Train wreck of math education. The key to a good understanding of math is to teach its history and its integration with other disciplines, and to not teach so much of it so fast.
Mathematics is, in a sense, a religious discipline.
But, then, most disciplines are.
Thinking more about armor took me back to the story of David and Goliath. In the Bible, clothing is often an expression of character and status, and nothing exemplifies this more than the passage detailing the defeat of Goliath of Gath.
And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. (1 Sam 17:4,5)(ESV)
First, it describes Goliath in his armor. The Hebrew word usually translated “coat of mail” literally means “scales.” As in the scales of a snake. David the giant slayer is also David the serpent slayer. This reinforces the Christological readings of Israel’s poet warrior. As a shepherd, David delivered sheep from the lion and the bear, and now he begins his role as shepherd of Israel by delivering it from the serpent. Given that this episode is immediately after David is anointed as king, this makes perfect sense.
Second, when Saul offers his own armor for David to use, armor that is described in similar terms as Goliath’s.
Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. (1 Sam 17:38)(ESV)
God has already rejected Saul, and so Saul becomes a shell of a king. This great warrior who would lead Israel in her battles, who is himself described as a giant, taller than all of the people, now sits impotent.
David rejects Saul’s armor, going out with only a sling and stones, because David will not be another Saul. David will be a shepherd. He will use God’s faithfulness as a shield.
Later on in 1 Samuel, the connection with Saul and Goliath is made stronger when Saul is shown repeatedly to be carrying a spear. Saul becomes David’s new Goliath, but instead of facing the new giant head-on, David uses the shoes of peace to flee.
When we put on the armor of God, we are saying we want to be like God. Like Christ. We want to share in his character and status. We must dress like the king if we want to be like the king. And like David, we must reject the armor of serpents and the worldly wisdom that goes with it.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler (ESV)
When I read this, I was reminded of Ephesians 6 and the whole armor of God. This Psalm might have been part of Paul’s inspiration for his phrasing, and reminds us that we should think a bit harder about the following passage. Its important to remember that the armor is indeed God’s.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Eph 6:13-18)(ESV)
The belt of truth is His Truth.
The breastplate of righteousness is His righteousness through Christ.
The helmet of salvation is His salvation, turning away His wrath.
The sword of the Spirit is, of course, His Spirit making known His words.
The shield of faith is really His own faithfulness to His promise, as Psalm 91 hints. And lest any man should boast, our faith itself is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8,9).
And what are we really preparing for with this armor? For a battle, yes. But we fight this battle on our knees. We pray. We speak His words back to him, and for what we miss, the Spirit will add its own groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26). We have a sword, but in our clumsiness, we dare not wield it while standing.
Finishing out the Ephesians passage:
To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…
We put on the armor of God not so we can be independent machines of war, marching to glory and spreading the kingdom in our wake. We put on the armor of God so we can be even more dependent on God. We gird ourselves for war so we can ask our God to go to war for us.