The Jesus Story
The Kingdom of God is Here and Now
information is complied by Minister Paul E Jones
As we prepare to enter the 21st century, we look back on the most violent
century in the history of the human race. Prof. R.J. Rummel of the University of
Hawaii has calculated the number of murders committed by totalitarian
governments in the 20th century. Nearly a quarter of a million people have been
killed by their own governments in this century. Did I say "million?" I meant
"Billion"; with a "B". (The United States killed a quarter of a million people
in the Gulf War alone!) Add to that the number of people killed by someone
else’s government, and we find that a greater percentage of the human race has
been deliberately killed in this century than any in recorded history. If we add
the numbers of people who are murdered before they reach the age of one, we find
that the current rate of killing is nearly 5,000 people per hour. (More than
four thousand people under the age of one are killed in the USA alone. Every
day. China's forced abortion policy may triple that number. Do the math.)
Most of us are unaware of these murders, and most Christians are not even shocked when they hear about them. Many Christians seem to be glad when they hear about murder, violence, and chaos. They think this means that "Christ is coming soon." Most Christians do nothing to stop or prevent human destruction.
* The United States Supreme Court has said that it is "unconstitutional" to teach students that God says not to kill, steal, and rape. Most Christians say nothing. What do Christians do when these amoral children grow up?
* If your average Christian were to meet a dictator who was guilty of killing millions, that Christian would not attempt to convince the dictator to turn his nation into a Christian government, "a city upon a hill," as our Puritan forefathers dreamed; the dictator would merely be asked to "accept Christ" and go to heaven when he died, having been forgiven for all his destruction, past, present, and, yes, future. The dictator would continue being a dictator, the evangelist would move on to his next "convert," and both would just be waiting for "Christ’s soon return."
This is not right.
The First Christmas marks the beginning of Christ‘s Kingdom. Christ came not to get His People waiting, but to get them working to extend His Reign over all the earth.
The Prophets said three things must happen before the Messiah’s Kingdom would be established. All three of those things happened at the First Christmas.
THE BINDING OF SATAN
And He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent,
which is the Devil and Satan,
and bound him a thousand years.
Let's talk "hermeneutics" for a minute. (That's the science which studies the rules for properly interpreting a text.)
When the psalmist declared that every beast of the forest is the LORD'S, "and the cattle upon a thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10), we should not expect to find the LORD bargaining with the rancher next door for hill #1,001. Yet many Christians today fail to apply the same kind of reasoning when they see the word "thousand" in Revelation 20. Many times in the Bible we have the word "thousand" used in a figurative sort of way (Psalm 84:10; 90:4; 105:8; and check 1 Corinthians 14:19 - if I've seen it once I've seen it a thousand times). It would take a very clear verse of Scripture - preferably from a non-symbolic passage of the Bible - to demonstrate that the never-ending (Isaiah 9:7) Kingdom of Christ - whenever it begins - is not to endure as long as the Byzantine Empire! Is it not reasonable to assume that the purpose of the "thousand year" picture in Revelation 20, far from limiting the length of Christ's reign to a handful of centuries, is designed to express the vast length of this age of peace?
We might consider another way of looking at this thousand-year problem: 2 Peter 3:8 says that a thousand years is to the Lord as one day. Does that mean that "the millennium" will last 365,000,000 years (not counting "leap-millennia")?
OK, back to our story. Even in the Garden of Eden the Lord had promised that the Messianic Conspirator would crush the serpent (Genesis 3:15). The New Testament emphatically declares that Jesus of Nazareth dealt Satan a death-blow, terminating his power over the nations. The saints are even now tightening the chains. This is how we know the Kingdom was established: we see the binding of Satan. Let's look at it:
Christ's Victory Over the Serpent
Even during Christ's life on earth, Satan and his henchmen knew that the jig was up, and relished every last minute of freedom. Some particularly fierce demons (Matthew 8:29) even hoped to persuade Jesus that He had come too soon:
And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
Some of the people who saw Jesus' power over the demons were going to accuse Him of casting out the demons by the power of Satan:
25 And Jesus knew their thoughts and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you. 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
Since this was obviously an exhibition of the power of the Holy Spirit, not of Satan, then according to verse 28 the Kingdom of Christ had at that time come. Indeed, for Satan and his thugs, the time had come: the strong man was being bound and his house readied for spoiling:
"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me." This He said, signifying what death He should die
That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
All people can now become co-conspirators with the Christ because Jesus in His triumph over death has rendered Satan impotent to deceive the nations; those demons and powers that held sway over the empires, nations, and kingdoms of the Old World Order have been spoiled, making room for the Kingdom of Christ:
And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them.
In His victory over the Principalities and Powers, Christ inaugurated His Kingdom, in which the saints are personally victorious in Him. We now press for open, public acknowledgement of the success of The Jesus story, and official repudiation of the Old Regime. Violent and selfish habits die hard.
The Saints' Victory over the Serpent
The reign of Christ in His Kingdom and the power of Christ over Satan and his pseudo-kingdom is extended by His saints. The battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15-16) is more than just a battle between the Person of Christ and the person of Satan. It is a battle between their descendants. Just as Satan would "lick the dust," so would his descendants:
And the nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lick the dust like a serpent. . . .
And just as the seed of the woman would bind the serpent so would those who are in Christ and conspire with Him:
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.
The saints of God should therefore be aware of their power over the Devil:
And the seventy returned again with great joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy Name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from the sky. Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
1 John 4:4; cf. Ephesians 2:2
The saints should thus be active in extending Christ's reign, replacing the so-called "New World Order" with decentralized Patriarchy, dethroning the prince of the Old World's powers. Yet when the task is completed, all the glory will be His, not ours:
Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
1 Corinthians 15:24-25
The honor which the saints have of executing Christ's judgment (cf. Psalm 149:4-9) is the work of the Holy Spirit:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment . . . because the prince of this world is judged.
Thus is Satan bound, and thus "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
Although the Apostolic co-conspirators were all stunned when Jesus was executed by the State, we should not be. The prophets foretold it. Everything in Jesus' life went exactly as planned. He pulled off The Jesus story without a hitch.
THE ENTHRONEMENT OF CHRIST THE KING
The Prophets said that "the millennium" would not begin until after the Messiah had been anointed King and took the Throne of David.
The concept of Christ's Kingship is widely misunderstood in our day. Many hold the same anti-Scriptural views that were held by those in Christ's day, who rejected The Jesus story and desired instead a rival Emperor and an army of bureaucrats and armed shock-troops to violently overthrow the existing political order and establish another top-down empire - with themselves at the top, of course. They really didn't want an end to oppression; they only hoped that the oppressors and the oppressed would simply change places. They wanted a king much like those of the demonic empires that had dominated human history up to that time. When they attempted to make Jesus the kind of king that would rule them from an earthly throne, He fled them (John 6:15). Politics has no place in The Jesus story. In our day He surely flees those who would limit His Kingship to the sinful methods of the Fallen Angel and his earthly political henchmen. We must not follow those Jews who sought to force Christ into an earthly throne in Jerusalem.
Let us postpone an inquiry into the nature of Christ's Kingship and find out if Christ's Kingdom is the Grand story foretold by the Prophets, and if Jesus can presently be said to be King.
Christ's Kingship Foretold
King David was told that his was not true Kingship; rather one of his descendants would be established as the True King (2 Samuel 7:12,13; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14). The Psalmist sang,
The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; He will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
This descendant is also called the Branch, a stem out of the root of Jesse (David's father):
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Jeremiah 23:5; cf. Isaiah 11:1-10
Christ's Kingdom Announced
Christ is everywhere in the New Testament spoken of as a King (Matthew 2:2; 21:5; 25:34,40; Matthew 26:64 + Mark 14:62; Luke 1:32,69; 2:11; 19:38; Luke 22:69 + John 18:37; John 1:49; John 12:13 + Mark 11:10; Acts 17:7; 1 Corinthians 15:25; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15; Hebrews 7:2,22; 8:1; Revelation 15:3; 19:6). But His Kingdom does not derive its power from the power of the old world, He does not administer justice from any earthly throne in the capitol of any nation, nor does He claim any one nation as "His nation" (John 18:35-36). This is what most Establishment theologians do not understand about The Jesus story.
It should have been obvious to everyone who had read the conspiratorial propaganda of the Old Testament that Christ's Kingship would be completely different from David's kingship, and in fact, it was obvious, but the politically-minded, unspiritual, power-hungry Jewish hierarchy suppressed this knowledge. Because of this self-deception, the people of Jesus' day did not understand how kingship could be exercised without resorting to intimidation, violence, and coercion, and it was necessary to repeat continually that this Jesus, born of a peasant virgin, was indeed the Christ, the Son of David, the Promised King (Matthew 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30-32; 21:9,15; Matthew 22:42-45 + Mark 12:35-37; Mark 10:47-48; 11:10; Luke 1:32,69; 18:38-39; 20:41-47; John 7:41-42; Acts 13:23; 15:15-16; Romans 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 2:8; Hebrews 12:2; Revelation 3:7; 5:5; 22:16).
Christ's accession to the Davidic throne is at the heart of The Jesus story, and was at the heart of Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost. When David prophesied of the coming King Who would sit on his throne, he had in mind the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ to the heavenly throne, which is called "the right hand of power" (Mark 14:62), and not to any finite, earthly throne in Jerusalem - or in Washington D.C. As Peter explained:
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ. . . . This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, "The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool." Therefore, let all the House of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Peter tells us that the secret of The Jesus story is really no secret. Establishment theologians tell us to accept the legitimacy of the Old World Order and wait for Jesus to come again and take the throne of David and become a U.N.-recognized Political Dictator, robed and crowned. The Establishment hates The Jesus story. They deny that Christ is now King. They want power in a coming kingdom of religious power politics. But no clearer statement could be hoped for to demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) and occupies David's throne as described by the Biblical Prophets. That the story succeeded and the Messiah now sits at the right hand of God (the position of True Power and Might) is claimed of Jesus again and again in the New Testament (Matthew 26:64; Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3-13; 8:1; 10:22; 12:2). This is clearly the fulfillment of Psalm 110:1, one of the most quoted Old Testament prophecies in all of the New Testament, and is said to be so in Peter's sermon on Pentecost.
The very term "Christ" means "Anointed King," and for His co-conspirators to claim that Jesus was the Christ was a dangerous political act (Acts 17:7). Can any true Christian claim that Jesus is not the Christ, the Anointed King? But He is the Conspiratorial Christ, not the "christ" of the theologians of the Old World Order.
Perhaps we can better understand the Spiritual reign of Christ by looking at the third element of the "millennium" or Kingdom of Christ:
THE ANOINTING OF THE BELIEVER-PRIESTS
The Old Testament described The Jesus story as the day when all believers would be anointed as priests (Exodus 19:5-6) and kings to reign in the Kingdom of the Messiah:
But the saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom, and possess the Kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the Kingdom. And the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
That the saints are anointed for the task of reigning is of special significance. Anointing was the way the priest (Numbers 3:3), the prophet (Isaiah 61:1), and the king were consecrated.
Anointing was the preeminent marking-out of the king. A quick glance at the occurrences of the word "anointed" in the books of Samuel makes this abundantly clear: over and over the king is called "the LORD's anointed."
The New Testament makes abundantly clear the fact that Jesus is the anointed prophet (Luke 4:18), anointed priest (Hebrews 1:8,9; 10:21) and Christ (that is, Anointed King; Acts 4:25-27, quoting Psalm 2:2).
The anointing of the prophet, priest, and king with oil was symbolic of the bestowal of the Holy Spirit, and it was with the Spirit that Christ was anointed (Acts 10:38). If there is one verb the Scriptures associate with the Holy Spirit is it the word "pour" or "sprinkle." When God pours out the Spirit, He pours it upon His saints, anointing them priests and kings under Christ. We have been anointed, and we are now priests and kings:
But ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.
1 John 2:20,27
Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.
2 Corinthians 1:21
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9
The amazing thing about the Old Testament prophecies of the coming reign of Christ's co-conspirators is not just that His people would be put into a position of true authority in Christ, but that they would be seen carrying out His will. The new commonwealth in Christ (Ephesians 2:12-19; 1 Peter 2:9) is quite unlike the old nation of Israel, who continually rebelled and forsook the LORD. And it is the anointing of the Spirit which we have that enables us to keep His Law and to "walk in His paths" (Micah 4:2; Romans 8:1-4).
Micah's prophecy begins with the words, "And it will come about in the last days. . . ." The prophet Joel began one of his prophecies in the same way, and the Apostle Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared that Joel's prophecy was seeing its fulfillment on that great Day of Pentecost. What did Joel predict, and what was then happening? It was the first stage of the anointing of believers as priests and kings to reign in obedience to Christ. Acts 2 describes the day when believers
. . . were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. And they were all amazed and marvelled saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Others mocked, saying, these men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my word: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose. . . . But this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel:
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy . . . ."
Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:1-21
When Joel looked into the future and saw this great outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all peoples, he saw the miraculous anointing that inaugurated that glorious age of human history foretold by the prophets.
The prophet Ezekiel had also spoken of the triumph of The Jesus story:
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.
It would indeed be a miraculous day when God's people would conspire with Him, rather than against Him, obeying Him from the heart, rather than rebelling, departing to the left and to the right, as Israel did so consistently.
The description given by the prophet Jeremiah began the same way, and was also fulfilled by Christ according to the writer to the Hebrews:
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the LORD; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
Jeremiah 31:31-34, in Hebrews 8:8-12
In the Old Testament it was difficult to imagine God getting anything accomplished through His people; with this remarkable change in the hearts of the saints, it is easier to understand how the Messiah would exercise His Kingship through the people of God and carry out The Jesus story. Now the people of God can be entrusted with the Kingly rule of Christ, as spoken of by the Prophets:
He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
Psalm 47:3; cf. Psalm 118:10, Isaiah 14:2
For the LORD taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute this judgment written; this honor have all His saints. Praise ye the LORD!
Psalm 149:4-9; cf. Isaiah. 11:1-5
Armed with the two-edged sword of the LORD, which is the Scriptures (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12), we who are saints are called to administer the Kingly reign of Christ, calling all people and all nations to repentance, even as King Jesus executes His judgments through us, by His powerful Word (Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 49:2; Hosea 6:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:15).
Armed with the Scriptures and the Spirit, we exercise the prophetic role of Christ, in denouncing the institutionalized selfishness which characterizes the kingdoms -- the outposts -- of the old world order. We must help its victims overcome their oppression, just as Christ was sent to do:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3; cf. Luke 4:18-22
The dominion of sin and death has been put to an end. Living in fear of Satan's minions and being in bondage to their televised lies and half-truths, waiting mournfully for the death of the cosmic Saddam, living in a spiritual and cultural underground, waiting for a rapturous rescue from the terminated reign of a now-disarmed dictator, can finally come to an end. Christ is King, and as His ambassadors we spread this Good News to those who are crippled by disinformation from the Old World Order. Armed with the two-edged sword of the LORD, we extend Christ's reign by preaching the good news of reconciliation to God, until all His enemies have become His friends (1 Corinthians 15:25; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; John 15:14).
The Word of God is clear: "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal." In fact, violence is repudiated by the saints, employed against them by the pagans, and backfires to destroy Christ's enemies.
"The Last Days"
We have already seen a few New Testament passages that tell us that Old Testament prophecies of events that were to occur in "the last days" or "in those days" were fulfilled during the time of Christ's First Coming. Among them was Peter in Acts 2:16-17:
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: "And it shall come to pass in the last days. . . ."
There are more. Conspiratorial propaganda was written to the first-century Hebrews, which began by saying,
God, Who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son. . . .
Similarly, the Apostle Peter, in his first epistle, tells his readers that Christ
was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times for you. . . .
1 Peter 1:20
We saw that the three conditions for the success of The Jesus story - the "millennium" - were satisfied at the First Advent of Christ:
1. The binding of Satan and limiting of his power to deceive the nations (Revelation 20:1-3);
2. The enthronement of the Eternal King upon the Throne of David (Psalms 2 and 110);
3. The anointing of believers as priests and kings to reign and rule under Christ (Revelation 5:10).
It is abundantly clear from Scripture that these things have already taken place; still, some fear that the Cosmic Saddam is still in power. This may be because they have been told by theologians from the Republican Guard that certain other events must take place in the near future, before Jesus comes again, this time successfully establishing His gloriously political, hierarchical Kingdom/bureaucracy in Jerusalem. These awaited events include Apostasy and great tribulation. Establishment theologians tell Christian Conspirators that we are in the "last days" of something, and apostasy and tribulation are just around the corner. We should not be conspiring to establish Christian Civilization, we should be waiting for a cosmic CIA to "rapture" us. Theologians of the Empire tell us to expect apostasy and tribulation. But the verses they quote are talking about something that already happened.
Persecution: Violent Resistance to Jesus' New World Order
It is the unanimous testimony of the New Testament writers that they were simultaneously living in
* the Last Days of the Old World Order in which the Evil Dictator had full sway, and in
* the First Days of the New World Order of The Jesus story.
There is never a hint in the writings of the Apostles that the Last Days of the Old Order were thousands of years away. They were in "the last days" of the old world and were anticipating the imminent unveiling of the New World.
Recall the CIA-assassin analogy with which we began. It is helpful in understanding how things took place in "the last days" of the Old Testament, and sheds much light on misused texts of Scripture.
Saddam has been assassinated and a new king installed in his place. Followers of the old king, unaware of his demise, continue to follow his orders, and continue to order others to pay homage to his glorious - but now-terminated - reign (through means both violent and subtle).
In the days just prior to the assassination of Saddam, word got out among the Kurds that the CIA was working with Kurdish rebels to unseat Saddam. Many people knew that the intelligence which would be provided by the CIA as well as their high-tech espionage equipment would render the Kurdish assassin nearly invincible. These people knew that the reign of Saddam was all but over. They had great joy.
Evidence of CIA involvement with Kurdish leaders became known as well to certain loyalist units of Saddam's Republican Guard. They were not happy. They began an intense persecution of the Kurds, out of a sense of inevitable futility and dashed expectations. They became ever more consistent to the oaths of initiation they had taken to support the evil regime. But in the end, their leader was exposed as an evil fraud, and the new regime was ushered in. Citizens of the New Order began the task of reconstruction.
In the Bible, whenever God revealed part of His story, rebels in the Establishment went crazy. This was especially true during those first days of the New Covenant.
When the Magi from the East alerted Herod to an Outside Agitator Who had come to disrupt his reign, Herod lashed out against all the infants in the realm (Matthew 2:16). Matthew's history jumps ahead 30 years to the next occurrence of revelation and persecution: John the Baptizer announces that the conspiratorial New World Order is about to begin (Matthew 3:1-2). The Baptizer would eventually be beheaded by Republican Guard loyalists.
Then Jesus is found announcing the same news: "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17,23). The prophets had announced the coming of a New King and the crushing of the Old Dictator; Jesus said that "The time is fulfilled" (Mark 1:15). It was happening right before the eyes of the Republican Guard (Matthew 12:28; Luke 10:9-11; 17:21), and it irritated them no end. This Conspirator would also be killed, but would be raised up to the Ancient of Days to assume His Kingship (Daniel 7:13-14).
But it wasn't just Herod and the Romans, nor the demons (who egged them on) - even Israel was less than happy that the Messiah had come. God had continually sent His Prophets to warn Israel about their disobedience and promise them that the Messiah was coming. Just as consistently, they put those Messengers to death (Hebrews 11:37-38; Acts 7:51-52). Jesus' Word to them was particularly stern: They had been rejected and would have no place in the coming Kingdom (Matthew 21:33ff.). Israel was without fruit (Luke 13:6-9) and would have to be cut down (Matthew 3:8-10). The "Good News" of The Jesus story was bad news for Israel.
Since Israel was about to be destroyed, the apostles spent much of their time during the Last Days summoning God's people to a total separation from her, urging them to align themselves instead with the Church (cf. Acts 2:37-40; 3:19-26; 4:8-12; 5:27-32), the New Israel (Galatians 4:26; 6:16; Hebrews 12:22). Not the kind of propaganda that agents of the Old Order wanted to hear.
Even though Jesus had made it clear that Legitimate Rule was being transferred from their Old Order to the New, the Jewish leaders continued to tell the weak and fearful that they were still in control: the blind were leading the blind (Matthew 15:14). Jesus' message to them was clear: theirs was the "terminal generation" (Matthew 23; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; Hebrews 6:4-8). They rejected the reign of the New King, preferring the dying Saddam instead (Luke 19:14; John 19:15), but in their hearts they knew the jig was up. They were Apostates and they lashed out at The Jesus Conspirators in violent frustration.
Tragically, these loyalists infiltrated the Camp of the Messiah's followers, and caused many to remain loyal to the Old World Order. A Council was called to reassure the Christians that things were in fact changing (Acts 15). Paul met this great apostasy with some of the most severe terminology of his career (Galatians 1:6-9; 2:5,11-21; 3:1-3; 5:1-12). Especially in the outskirts of the New Empire, where communication is sometimes interrupted, Paul warned of apostasy (Acts 20:28-30), which had broken out by the time of the writing of the Book of Revelation (2:2,6,14-16,20-24; 3:1-4,15-18). The outbreak of disinformation was widespread (2 Timothy 2:18; 1 Corinthians 15:12; Colossians 2:8,18-23; 1 Timothy 4:1-3), causing lawlessness to break out (2 Pet. 2:1-3,10-22; Jude 4,8,10-13,16). Again and again the apostles found themselves issuing warnings against tolerating the theologians of the Republican Guard (Romans 16:17-18; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4,12-15; Philippians 3:18-19; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 4:2-5), for these had been the cause of massive defections, and the extent of apostasy was increasing as the Last Days of the Old Order progressed (1 Timothy 1:19-20; 6:20-21; 2 Timothy 2:16-18; 3:1-9,13; 4:10,14-16). We think of the first generation of the Christian Church as filled with faith and miracles. But it was also afflicted by lawlessness, rebellion, and heresy - just as Jesus had foretold in Matthew 24.
What better term for this anti-Christian disinformation than "anti-Christ"? In our time, some await a future day when, it is said, "the anti-Christ" will appear. But that time was in the generation of the Apostle John:
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that anti-Christ shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. He is antichrist who denieth the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:18-22; also 1 John 4:1-6; 2 John 7-11
New Testament writers warned the early Church to build themselves up on the most holy faith through the Holy Spirit, in order to discern those who were loyalists for the Old Regime, those who have not the Spirit. The need for such discernment, and the presence of such wolves, was foretold by Paul (Acts 20:29) and was a mark of those final days (Jude 18; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1).
Praise God! we live in the New World Order of Jesus the Christ, and by His Spirit can see through the mythology and disinformation of the Old World Order. Godly patriarchs continue to be persecuted by those dominated by the lies of the Serpent. But if we correctly understand what the Old Testament predicted about the Messiah, avoiding the errors of the politically-minded Jews of His day, and seeing the Kingdom not as another military empire, but as a Kingdom of Peace, we will see that every prophecy of the Old Testament Prophets, and every promise made to the patriarchs of old, is fulfilled in Christ in this age (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Acts 3:24-26
"THE GREAT TRIBULATION"
For some reason (a reason we explained in another paper) many people in our day are waiting for - and even (in a perverse sense) hoping for - a time of great conflict, natural disasters, war, and even fiery death on a scale never-before seen. Fortunately, it already happened. And we have the Words of our Lord to prove it.
When Jesus walked the earth, He said the Old Order was over; a New Kingdom was beginning. Israel was going to be destroyed. It was this generation that was "wicked and perverse" (Matthew 12:39,45; 16:4; 17:17), it was this generation which crucified the Lord, and it was this generation upon which would come the punishment for "all the righteous blood shed on the earth" (Matthew 23:35; 24:34) - a Great Punishment, indeed!
Jesus' Word to Israel sets the stage for His sermon in Matthew 24. Jesus' reference to "these great buildings which you are looking at" (Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5-6) allows only one interpretation: The Great Tribulation ended with the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70. A careful consideration of Matthew 24 with the prophetic imagery of the Old Testament prophets (Matthew 23:37) will show that the Old Age was destroyed in a fiery judgment, and the New Age was brought into rightful, legitimate rule. This is Good News. We must spread it. We must live in terms of it.
Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure, and in quiet resting places . . . .