Christians as the Heirs
God had transferred title to the land of Canaan when He promised Abraham that his heirs would inherit it (Genesis 16:7). They didn’t possess it for four generations, as God predicted (15:16). Possession of the inheritance was not automatic.
The land of conquered Canaan was supposed to serve the Hebrews as the garden was to have sewed Adam: as a training ground. They were to use it as a base of operations in a world-wide program of conquest-conquest by ethics. Jonah’s ministry was the great Old Testament example. But the Hebrews failed in this task of world-wide evangelism. Satan remained the squatter-inheritor of the world.
When Jesus announced the beginning of His public ministry by proclaiming the fulfillment of the jubilee year, He was thereby announcing the transfer of title: from the deceased Adam to God’s incarnate Son. What was listed on that deed? The whole world. Jesus was claiming His inheritance as God’s legitimate son. Satan the squatter was put on notice: the heir has come.
Jesus went out and fulfilled the terms of Isaiah 61: He comforted the broken-hearted, healed the sick, and set spiritual captives free. Then He died on the cross.
The Old Testament laws of inheritance designated the brothers of the deceased as the lawful heirs, if he left behind neither a wife nor children (Numbers 27:9). Who are Jesus’ lawful heirs? His ethical followers. “And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold, my mother and my brethren!” (Matthew 12:49). Those who are ethically disciplined by Jesus are the heirs of His inheritance.
This means that Christians have legally inherited the world. This is why Jesus commanded His followers to go out and disciple (discipline) the nations (Matthew 28:18). They are to claim their inheritance in His name.
The basis today for Christians’ collecting their lawful inheritance is diligent work, moral faithfulness to God and man, and building up their families’ capital base. They are to earn their inheritance in the same way that Adam was supposed to earn it: by dominion. They must prove themselves faithful sons.
The jubilee year was fulfilled by Christ, as He announced. The 50-year land tenure cycle is abolished forever, just as the slaying of animals in the Temple is abolished forever. Jesus fulfilled the terms of the jubilee year. The Jews’ inheritance in Palestine was taken from them. There is no more need for the jubilee year as a means of land tenure, for there is no more inheritance based on the original military conquest of Canaan. We have a better jubilee today: world dominion. We hold title to the whole world; now we need to fulfill the terms of the dominion assignment in order to prove ourselves faithful sons.
A holy goal and a serious work it is, to have dominion over the world, held in the name of God – and responsibility to Him for all our words and deeds.
Such a duty takes work and discipline, to weld properly and in a God-pleasing manner. This takes generations of work, teaching our sons and daughters, to build up on the good that we have done, and to avoid imitating our failures.
This will transform the world, as the Bible clearly teaches.
Indeed, I even believe that it will transform the cosmos, given enough time: which is where eternity comes from. But first focus on what God has clearly commanded – the Godly dominion of the world – and then, in the fullness of time He will reveal if my assertion is true or not.
His commandments come first.