The World System, Are Christians Its Citizens?

ChurchServiceNazisFor the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. (1 Corinthians 10:26 KJV)

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31 KJV)

Consider these two verses closely. The earth is the Lord’s, and in Genesis everything He created He declared as “good.” But is the world good and are we to be part of it? To answer this question we have to go to the Greek meanings of these two words.

gē (“earth”)

Thayer Definition:

1) arable land

2) the ground, the earth as a standing place

3) the main land as opposed to the sea or water

4) the earth as a whole

4a) the earth as opposed to the heavens

4b) the inhabited earth, the abode of men and animals

Obviously this Greek word means the planet we call “Earth.” It is the Lord’s. Now how about this word that was translated world— this same world that is under the judgment of God that was translated from the Greek word kosmos?

kosmos

Thayer Definition:

6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
7) world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
7a) the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ”

W.E. Vine defines kosmos as the “present condition of human affairs, in alienation from and opposition to God.” There is a teaching in many churches that we who are Christ’s have an obligation to support the country we are a citizen of. Yes, Jesus made it clear that we are to pay our taxes and obey the laws of the land… to a point. And here is the rub! Just what is that point, and at what point does obeying those laws make you disobedient to Christ who has purchased us with His blood?

As an example, take patriotism. This can be an evil deception when it calls for us who follow Christ as our Lord to murder our fellow man in the name of our national interests. Jesus was very clear about this when speaking to the Jews.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”(Matthew 5:43-48 RSVA)

What drummer will we march to? Will we obey all that our country requires us to do at the sacrifice of listening to the voice of God and doing what He requires of us in His kingdom as His children? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it plain that the Father loves all mankind, not just the ones that we agree with or that agree with Him. He links loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us to being God’s children! But He does not stop there. He goes on to relate such loving actions to the perfection of our heavenly Father in us, who makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall upon both the good and the evil. When the disciples wanted to wipe out a Samaritan village simply because they would not let Jesus and the disciples pass through, Jesus had an interesting reply,

And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, You know not what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. (Luke 9:54-56 KJ2000)

Anne Lamott said, “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when God hates all the same people you do.” When we get our patriotic and religious juices all worked up and are willing to take part in killing our fellow man, we do not know what spirit we are of. Jesus came to save the lost, not kill them! Jesus said that Satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Beware of any murderous thoughts you are listening to because it is not God’s Spirit that is speaking in you.

When Peter and the apostles preached Christ under the power of the Holy Spirit on the days following Pentecost, the leaders of the Jews forbade them. To this Peter had one simple answer, “But answering them Peter and John said, Whether it is right before God to listen to you rather than God, you judge.”(Acts 4:19 LITV)

There is a higher Authority than secular humanistic governments that often are doing the will of the devil, the Prince of this world system. The kingdoms of men are becoming more and more anti-Christ by restricting Christian religious freedoms while promoting perversion and the murder of the innocent. The early church obeyed the Holy Spirit and it often cost them their lives. We can expect the same if we obey the Spirit and manifest Christ’s kingdom openly in this kosmos system. Jesus said, “These things have I spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world [kosmos] you have affliction. But courage! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33 CLV)

Dominion Theology

“Dominion Theology is the idea that Christians should work toward either a nation governed by Christians or one governed by a conservative Christian understanding of biblical law.”- Wikipedia

Some preachers today are advocating that their members become active in the political arena. I do not see Jesus teaching any such thing. When Pilate during Christ’s trial asked of Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered succinctly, “My kingdom is not of this world…”

These same preachers point to a verse in Revelation they say gives Christians the authority to go out and take political dominion of our respective nations for God. They usually quote this part of a verse out of context, “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ.” Let’s look at it.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, who sat before God on their thrones, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, Saying, We give you thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who is, and was, and is to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned. And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward unto your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them who destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:15-18 KJ2000)

Notice first that the setting of this passage is at the end of the age during the wrath of God. Second, it is God who takes to Himself the power over the peoples of the world, not Christians through political or military force. Let’s look at this word translated kingdom in this passage.

basileia
Thayer Definition:
1) royal power, kingship, dominion, rule
1a) not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom
1b) of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah
1c) of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom

As you can see, this is not about political kingdoms, but the right and authority to rule over the kingdom. Christ’s rule will be established over what was once the kosmos of Satan at the end of the age when God pours out His wrath. His rule has nothing to do human power or with national and political boundaries because it is a singular kingdom.

Jesus said:

“If the world [kosmos – in each case] hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:18-20 RSVA)

My God, my Savior and those who are His are not of this kosmos or its worldly kingdoms, For our citizenship is in heaven; from which also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20 KJ2000 – see also Gal. 4:26, Eph. 2:19 and Heb. 12:22).

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17 comments on “The World System, Are Christians Its Citizens?

  1. Pam says:

    Be still and know that He is God.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very well-elaborated article, Michael. You offer many important answers to questions that are really important today. There is so much confusion about what this world and our tasks as Christians to live here might mean to everyone of us. I hope that many who think they ought to be ”political Christians“ will see how precious your thoughts regarding this very issue are and that they get the gist of what Jesus Christ and His message to all mankind was really standing for.

    Jesus’ life on earth did have political consequences since he was finally crucified for seemingly having wanted to be the (earthly) “King of the Jews”. However, I know I repeat myself here, He Himself was never interested in changing anything we could see on the outside such as policy or appointing new rulers on earth. He accepted the Roman Empire as God given (unimaginable for the Zealots, don’t you think?) and began to spread the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men instead.

    As for the picture you chose above, dear brother, in Germany we do know how easily the evil could spread in the Third Reich because the Church worked together with the government. Even today church and state are not completely separated from one another, whether income taxes, hospitals, or education at several universities are concerned, there is a lot of intermingling of both areas. Our churches here need no tithes, unless they are non-denominational, because they automatically receive a certain percentage of the income of baptized people which varies from federal state to federal state. The only way to get free from that burden is to leave the church completely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Susanne, I was shocked to find out that people HAVE to support the state connected churches in Germany and many European countries by taxation. Yet, the American churches putting their members under the law of the tithe is not that different. Law is law and freedom IN Christ is true freedom. It is sad that so few Christians know what that freedom is today. The Great Whore and her daughters ride on the beast governments of men and when she is finally judged, the kings of the earth and its merchants will morn for they are all of the same spirit (read Rev. ch 17&18). As for “leaving the church completely…” sometimes you have to leave the “church” to find the Church and clearly hear Jesus voice. Many are hearing His voice in this hour saying, “Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.”
      (Revelation 18:4-5 KJ2000)

      God bless you, my sister,
      Michael 🐻

      Liked by 3 people

  3. My dear Brother! This is the exact things we have been speaking of in our Monday might mens study and Wednesday family group fellowship. I love how the Lord works in His children, they hear His voice. Alan in Maine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Alan, for your confirmation. I wrote this and sat on it for a couple of days, seeking God on whether I should post it and finally felt Him nudge me to do so. I am glad I did so, my brother. Your comment is very encouraging.
      Michael

      Like

  4. Ken Dawson says:

    In the last political presidential election I was registered to vote in Texas but I was in Oklahoma-so on the last chance to go back to Texas with a friend I was debating about who to vote for while preparing to go to Texas-I knew I could not vote for Obama ( unless my Lord told me to ) but I was not comfortable voting for Romney–so I asked my Lord to decide for me–on Friday afternoon as we were preparing to head out I became so sick I could not even get out of bed–my friend said-your too sick so stay in bed and I will see you when I get back–after he left I suddenly got better–so I asked my Lord–what was that all about? His answer was–well now you don’t need to worry about voting at all–The point of the matter is–If you want to know if you should be involved in politics just ask your Lord for leading and He will show you the way! But first make sure you know who your Lord is!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for sharing this story, Kenneth. Yes, if we seek His will outside the box of our Christian church brainwashing, we will hear Him speak quite clearly and what we hear will not be according to the traditions and doctrines of men in that worldly system. I am glad that Christ has set you free, my brother. “Let he who has ears hear what the Spirit IS saying to the churches.”

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Sky says:

    So much insight here Michael! My thoughts exactly!!! haha 😉 And as for leaving the church completely, we cannot leave something that we innately are – wink wink. But yes I know what Susanne means. What the “church” most commonly is referred to is not what Jesus meant so can we look to Jesus’s definition and meaning of it and make the distinction. It helps me to remember the 2 Kingdoms and now I see that the religious system (normal, common church) is one kingdom and Jesus and His ways and thoughts and Kingdom is quite another. We are shown these truths AS we surrender, lay it down, die and die some more. And die again today. What we often assume and make suppositions about in our natural minds and thinking is so way off and we cannot “SEE” the Kingdom of God unless we die first. Sorry for stumbling around but spiritual concepts are difficult to describe. I only catch a glimpse here and there as He cracks it open for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Sky, for your comment, dear sister. It seems that Jesus came to make blind eyes see and seeing eyes blind. The physically blind came to Him to receive their sight, but the religious establishment and self-righteous He left blind in their rebellious pride. The same is true today.

      Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
      (John 9:39-41 RSVA)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Tish says:

    A very interesting article and wonderful replies. They are inspire true contemplating on, thank you all for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sky says:

    wow, you’re right (John 9:39-41) That’s so awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You always examine issues of faith on a profound level, Michael. Thank you for that! It challenges the rest of us to think deeply about our faith.

    Theocracies wherever attempted have been corrupted by the fallible nature of man. Iran and the so called “caliphate” ISIS is seeking to establish are just two examples. Christians have fared little better. Consider the political machinations of the Roman Catholic Church during the Renaissance.

    Today’s well-intentioned Christians make a poor trade, if they pursue worldly power at the expense of morality. However, morality can and should inform the political choices we each make.

    The vote in South Carolina’s legislature to remove the Confederate battle flag from the capitol was a political act. At least a few legislators though are likely to have been influenced by their faith, in deciding where to stand on the issue. Some may lose their seats, as a result.

    We are not all legislators. But we are all confronted by political issues, i.e. issues relating in one way or another to governance. Do we march in protest against abortion? For equal pay? Do we oppose the death penalty? Do we join the Armed Forces and fight the Nazis, or register as conscientious objectors? Are we for or against sanctuary cities?

    Even the decision to turn one’s back on politics is, in a sense, political. And by that I mean it has a moral dimension. The two areas of human endeavor cannot be entirely divorced.

    However imperfectly, Christians bring Christ to the world. That’s our job. Abolitionism and Christianity were closely entwined. The same can be said about the Civil Rights Movement. These days, there is renewed Christian involvement in prison reform.

    Sorry to go on at such length. Typical lawyer….

    With love,

    Anna ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Anna, we must each do what we feel God has led us to do. Obeying His voice in my life took me out of political activism because I could not do it without getting into my flesh and getting sucked into hate and endless arguments that did not manifest Christ’s love in this world. May the Lord bless you as you obey Him.

      Love you too,

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always find much wisdom in what you write, Michael. And great love. I can only believe that the Lord is greatly pleased with you. I know I am.

        I keep forgetting to mention. There is a beautiful and inspiring film on this topic called “Amazing Grace”. It is the story of William Wilberforce’s opposition to the British slave trade.

        God bless you, Michael. I am living proof of the fact He uses you to bless others.

        Your friend,

        Anna

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Anna, you are so gracious to me! Yes, I would love to see that movie about Wilberforce. You truly are a blessing to me and hundreds of others. BTW, check out this quote from MLK I found on Wikipedia…

        “One of the best ways to face this problem of self-centeredness is to discover some cause and some purpose, some loyalty outside of yourself and give yourself to that something… you are then able to live because you have given your life to something outside and something that is meaningful, objectified. You rise above this self-absorption to something outside. We look through history. We see that biography is a running commentry of this. We see Wilberforce. We see him somehowe satisfaying his desire by absorbing his life in the slave trade, those who are victims of the slave trade.” ~ Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr: Symbol of the movement, January 1957-December 1958 (2000), p. 253

        Dear sister, I cannot read this without thinking about you. You have gone outside your pain by helping others in theirs.

        Your friend and brother always,
        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

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