Looking at the Modern Church and the Arrogant Spirit of the Age
In Revelation 1:5, Jesus has been given three offices, three duties to fulfill when he was sent on his mission to earth. He was to be the "Faithful Witness," the "Firstborn from the Dead," and the "Ruler of the Kings of the Earth." The final role that Jesus has been given has yet to be fully realized; and to me personally, thinking about the implications of him taking over the world at his second coming has always been fascinating and frightening.
Ruler means he is the chief; chief over all the chiefs of the whole land. When Jesus came to earth the first time, he didn't invoke his rights as ruler; but rather he came as an insignificant slave who submitted himself to the lash and the executioner's cross of the world’s authorities - - both Jewish and Roman. He died willingly to woo the hearts of men. He did not come to impose his will upon people, but to persuade and win them through kindness and humble service to the Father. But let me tell you, when he comes again, he “ain’t going to be messin' around.”
This is what Revelation is all about, Jesus is presented as the returning King and he is going to be takin care of business, serious business. His business as returning King will be very straight-forward - - he is going to...
(1) Reclaim what is rightfully his.
(2) Render righteous judgment that he has previously withheld. (Romans 2:4-5)
(3) Restore his throne upon the earth. Look at Revelation 2:26-27 & 3:21.
However, as the world stands now, the rule of Christ as King is daily mocked and ridiculed. Even people who claim allegiance to Jesus will wave off the idea of his supremacy and one day world domination with a mild shrug and patronizing smile. “Oh, that’s nice…but let’s not take it too seriously. We don't want to offend, nor think we have all the answers. You remember the terrible P.R. we got from the Crusades back in the Middle Ages don't you? You don't want another blemish on our reputation happening again...do you?.” Many, many mainstream church leaders and even your average Christian have been breathing in the air of Absalom for far too long now.
In 2 Samuel 15:1-6 there is a sad little story where King David's son Absalom usurped his dad's authority because he wanted to rule, he wanted the throne. He would sit outside of the city gate and "steal the hearts of men of Israel" by telling the people that their "claims were valid and everyone can come to me" instead of directing them to David, the rightful king. It was a good deal for Absalom because people would come and bow down to him and kiss his hand. I'll bet Absalom loved being "the man!"
In 2 Samuel 16:15-22, Absalom eventually kicked his dad out of Dodge (that's Jerusalem to the more serious bible folk) and crowned himself king. You can read it yourself, because I don't want to describe the other terrible things Absalom did to shame his father.
This is exactly what many leaders and spokesman in the modern church are currently doing to Jesus, David's true rightful heir. Instead of directing people to the words and rule of Christ, they sit outside the city gate and validate the claims of every Tom, Dick, Harry and Jane who want to vent, and live life the way they want to live it. They do this because people will metaphorically kiss their hand, think and talk highly of them while trashing the real truth of Jesus the King. How do they do this? Let me offer three areas of "gate sitting" that are taking place in our country:
(1) New Sexual Liberties: Jesus is holy and he agrees with the Levitical codes on sexual purity as found in chapter 18 (He and his Father wrote them). But now our American society wants to do what they want to do and they have written these laws off as ancient and ignorant - - "Why can't men sleep with men, women with women? Why can't a man decide he is a woman and a woman decide she wants to be a man?" The Christian Absalom crowd loves to step in and speak for Jesus, "Don't worry, that ship has sailed, we have grown in toleration and sophistication. It is o.k. to not be any gender, it's ok to have 15 parents for one child, it's ok to marry who-ever you want, sleep with whoever you want...as long as you love the other." (I don't think their definition of love is the same as the King's definition?)
(2) New Spiritual License: Jesus is the only King, isn't he? No, not anymore, just ask the Dali Lama our President's good friend, or ask Oprah, everyone has a chance for eternal pleasure, and they can choose whatever faith path feels right for them...right? Jesus doesn't mind sharing his throne with Allah, or Shiva, or the FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monster) - - does he?
(3) New Scientific Learning: Maybe when it comes to human origins, gender, depravity it is not a matter of God's creative power or man's rebellious nature; maybe, or should I say probably, it is a matter of our chromosomes and evolutionary theories. Sin isn't willful rebellion, it is nothing more than a lack of an elongated X chromosomes and telomeres. The more we learn, the less we need to hear from an all-knowing King who likes to have us silly saps still believing that he is supposedly in control of all of nature.
If you continue to read the story of Absalom, there is this curious part in 2 Samuel 18:9-17 where Absalom was being pursued by some of David's men. As he was riding his mule, he got his beautiful long hair caught in the tree and he was left hanging; vulnerable and defenseless. Along came David's soldiers and they hurled a couple three javelins into his chest and killed him. Absalom loved his hair...and it was his hair that did him in.
Many in the church love to be loved by the world, and it is going to do us in. We love to sound sophisticated, tolerant, and compassionate toward the various perversions of this sick world. We most especially love to sit at the gates and answer people on behalf of Jesus. You must be careful when you do this because (1) according to James, you who claim to teach on behalf of the King will be judged very strictly, and (2) the King is coming back soon and you will have to answer for every word you say. I warn you, you don't want to be left hanging like Absalom!
In Psalm 2, the writer wants us to see who really is on the throne. While the nations rage, the Lord laughs. And he implores us to "Kiss the Son" lest he be angry. So stop trying to get people to kiss your hand - - the only person who should be receiving kisses is Jesus the King!