Part 1 God’s dominion from the Beginning
So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Genesis 1:27-28
When man was granted dominion, the kingdom of Heaven on earth was established. It was not what we think of as a kingdom today, with men ruling over other men and exercising authority. It was never meant to be that way in the kingdom of God. Cain created a kingdom in opposition to God and in his own personal image, not in the image of God.
In the house of the righteous [is] much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble. Proverbs 15:6
The kingdom of God or Heaven was not a place where men decided for other men what was good and what was evil, nor was it a place where men made laws as if they were gods of men. It was a place where men under God’s Law were to dress and keep the earth and love one another as God loves man.
God gave man and all mankind an undivided interest in the earth and an absolute interest in himself. Each man lived on land for which he cared and his rights to that land, and the improvements attached to it were proper. These rights are called property rights. His neighbor protected his rights as much as he protected his own and, if usurpers came, they stood together as brothers, sons of God. If there was famine, they called on more distant brothers to aid in their calamity, through charity, serviced by volunteers, individually called to assist. This was self- governance by God acting through man’s heart, according to God’s love.
In a perfect world, men on earth are the living clay altars of God as they walk with God, do His will, and live according to His ways. As man is not perfect, he stumbles, but, if he is humble and loves God, he will return to the Father and continue in faith and obedience.
But some men do not love God. Though they were made in His image, they denounce the character of the Father and decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. Their image is not that of the Father and they part from His ways and follow the ways of sin, the ways of the wicked. They are made in a new image.
The revenue of the wicked
What are the revenues of the wicked? They are those who covet, buy or sell their brothers and their brothers’ sweat, household, and goods. They deliver men into bondage. They exercise authority over men for their own gain and benefit at the expense of their neighbor. They bring tractable men into one purse1 as human resources.
Peter warned us:
“For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” 2Pe 2:18.
Many governments promise people liberty, but, through those offer of benefits, they are able to deliver them into the bondage of Egypt. Is their kingdom sanctioned and blessed by God or merely allowed? Are we seeking the Kingdom of God which Jesus said was at hand or have we developed an appetite for the deceitful dainties of Nicolaitan altars2 which God hates? We have been warned from early times to not seek the common purse of Cain, Babylon, and Egypt. Wisdom itself cries out, but our hearts hear not the words of the wise.
… My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof… Proverbs 1
Could we be so tempted by the promises of man-made systems? Are we deceived by false religions that creep into our thinking while we are unaware? How easily are we enslaved and still cling to the belief that we are free? Are we free simply because we use the same names that once were associated with liberty? Should we covet our neighbors’ house and goods through the agency of governments we create?
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45
Herod the Great had promised Menahem, that, when the Messiah came, he would relinquish a portion of his kingdom containing Jerusalem to the true Anointed king. Herod was tempted by the power of that Hasmonian office and the apathy and avarice of the people. He attempted to kill the Messiah at his birth but failed. That kingdom of Israel, called Judea at that time, had been divided into three parts since Herod’s death. No one king ruled the whole nation and the seat that was to govern Jerusalem remained vacant.
Herod Antipas had been born in Bethlehem. His mother had gone there so that her son would fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah’s birth, but he never sat on the throne at Jerusalem. He was a man like his father, torn and confused by his own passion. He knew John, the son of Zachariah, and respected his dedication and devotion to the kingdom. He did not want him executed. Pulled between the idea of sparing John or giving up half of his kingdom, the temptation of power bid his heart to forsake justice, and forfeit his soul.
Beams in our eyes
It has been said that men are often cunningly coerced into waiving their rights.3 It is easy to point our fingers at tyrants and despots, but isn’t it our own weakness that tempted men to become tyrants? If men want their rights, they must accept their corresponding responsibility. It is the lazy larceny in our own hearts that tempts us. Lack of love for our neighbors justifies coveting their substance to feed our own abundant appetites.
The promoters and evangelists of Herod’s kingdom of Heaven at-hand offered security by compelling all to pay to the needs of the whole. They followed the traditions of Israel in the washing of new members. They depended upon the consent and submission of the people through application and participation. As this citizenry incorporated their rights in hope of gain, they were enfranchised under the kingly authority of Herod, the Patronus of Judea. They did not listen to Samuel’s chastisement of Saul when he foolishly forced the sacrifice or contribution of the people and returned the people to Egyptian bondage.
… And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: 1 Samuel 13:13
Those citizens prayed at Herod’s dead stone altar of authority for their justice and mercy. His government taxed each man and his neighbor to supply the common welfare and the wages of its administers. The multitude of offices, funded by the sweat of the common people, assured the salvation and grace4 of that authoritarian kingdom, but ate out their substance. Because men took God’s name in vain, defining right and wrong by their own appetite, they extracted the sacrifice of their neighbor and were delivered into bondage.
God did not create the city of Cain, but Cain used God’s law of contract to bind the people into that civil state. Under the gods of Cain, men applied and accepted his offer and social contract. The rulers and judges of Cain’s city became gods, ruling judges, of men instead or in place of God, the Father of creation. Men were fooled by the sophistry of the devils of the world because of the devilish spirit in their own hearts.
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD... Deuteronomy 10:125
The law was about where your heart was and not about the ritual and form. Even from the beginning, circumcision was not about mutilation, but about the hearts of men.
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. Deut. 10:16
1Proverbs 1:14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
2See Appendix 4
3"Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many Citizens, because of respect for the law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their rights due to ignorance." U.S v.Minker, 350 U.S. 179, 187
4Grace is from charis meaning benefit, bounty, services, recompense, reward.
5Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. [Mk 12:30, Mt 22:37]