From Jim O'Brien
September 30, 2016

Hi Friend,

New Government

America is within weeks of electing a new president. It brings to mind an astounding statement by C.S. Lewis, author of several Christian books along with the Narnia series. Lewis asked why traditional churches have overlooked a central theme of the New Testament, namely that Jesus Christ is returning to rule the earth.

Maybe the reason traditional Christian churches have abandoned the concept is that they have given up celebrating the day that commemorates the event-the Feast of Trumpets.

During one of the candid conversations the disciples had with Jesus, Peter, typically blunt, asked, "We have left everything to follow you! What reward will be given to us?"

Jesus wasn't offended. In fact, he seems understanding and equally candid in his response. "What I'm about to tell you is true," Jesus said to them. "When all things are made new, the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne. Then you who have followed me will also sit on 12 thrones. You will judge the 12 tribes of Israel. Everyone who has left houses or families or fields because of me will receive 100 times as much. They will also receive eternal life." (Matthew 19:27-29)

Maybe because I was raised in a traditional church those words did not have the same impact they had on C.S. Lewis. I didn't read the words of Jesus for what they obviously said. Jesus was speaking to his closest friends and he was giving his word. His integrity was at stake. He was the WORD which could not be false.

The disciples had given up everything to follow him. Their friends, careers, position in the community, and maybe even family. The question was legitimate. "What reward will be given us?"

Jesus doesn't mince words. "You...will...sit on 12 thrones. You will judge the 12 tribes of Israel."

What this meant to a Jew in the 1st Century, and Peter was a Jew, is almost incomprehensible to 21st Century Christians. The Jews were unique among all men because they looked for the Messiah to come to the earth! They expected him to restore power to Israel.

Jesus doesn't chastise them for expecting rewards that go to the political party that wins the election. Far from it, he tells them that their expectations were real. He is the Messiah. He will sit on a throne to rule. The disciples will share in his power. They will also rule.

Not only that, Jesus is promising physical blessings! He specifically mentions houses and fields. He promises physical wealth in the Kingdom of God. Such promises are too specific to be otherworldly.

Neither do they match the image of the Kingdom of Heaven often described by radio evangelists.

On the Day of Pentecost in 30 A.D., as the disciples watched Jesus taken up into heaven, angels appeared beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. But he will come back in the same way you saw him go." (Acts 1:11)

He will return to earth with a Kingdom. The subjects will be live human beings with jobs and families. There will be schools, libraries, churches, restaurants and sports centers. This brings a literal meaning to the prophecy of Isaiah that "the government will be upon his shoulders." Jesus and his followers will rule that world.

The closest connection contemporary Americans might make to Peter's thought process is a political election. This Monday many Christians will celebrate the Feast of Trumpets, the Christian's recognition of the coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So, if you are a little disappointed in the slate of candidates on the ballot this November, take heart, there's a political convention this Monday that recognizes a leader that is perfect and unblemished.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien