The Sanctifying Work of Reconstruction

Just a little historical perspective, courtesy of Mark Rushdoony.

Much of the Old Testament consists of historical accounts. For most of that 3600-year time span, God was silent, and all the faithful experienced was the day-to-day life of work, responsibility, and toil, in addition to the challenge of maintaining their faith amongst pagans without and, frequently, apostates within the nation.

We falsely assume their life was peppered by miracles that made faith unnecessary, but the miracles were relatively rare, often seen only by a few, and grouped into a few years (largely those of the Exodus/wilderness and Elijah/Elisha eras).

Later Jesus would reprimand those who wanted signs (miracles) (Matt. 16:1–4). The need was to see, with Peter, that he was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).  Later Jesus would bless those who so believed without witnessing the miraculous (John 20:29).

Far from being a succession of miracles, the history of God’s people is one of the very normal challenges brought about by either their sin or that of their enemies. There was no “golden era” in either the old covenant or the new. Our joy in the Lord can be very real, but it is often tempered by the day-to-day circumstances of serious problems, persecutions, and, sometimes, defeat and frustration.

Old Testament history is, therefore, not too different from our own. The survival of the covenant people was often in doubt, their nation was frequently at risk from either internal or external enemies until, on more than one occasion, there was no help save in the hand of God.

The same trend has been evident in the new covenant, though to a lesser extent. The new model that supplants the Hebrew nation is the Kingdom of God, the Davidic King of which is Jesus Christ (2 Sam. 7:12–13; 22:51; Matt. 1:1; Luke. 1:32–33). The congregation, or assembly, of people is now the ecclesia. There is, therefore, a very real correlation between the work, problems, and struggles of the people of God in the old and new covenants.

The Sanctifying Work of Reconstruction, by Mark Rushdoony

Miracles are real, but rare… even in the Old Testament times.

And yet…

I would argue that miracles are a good deal more common now than in the past: but because they come from our better understanding of the physical universe, they don’t seem very mysterious.

But it doesn’t take much digging to root out the mysterious-but-useful truths that power our technological miracles, starting out with the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics. Make a tiny peek into the complexity of the universe around us — starting with our brains — and the claim that “miracles are rare” starts to sound more than a little thin and superficial.

This should in no way take away Mark Rushdoony’s point: he is merely using the word ‘miracle’ in the way most people do, most of the time.

But – as Selbrede writes elsewhere (and as Rushdoony would agree!) miracles –a.k.a the Hand of God, most especially in the form of the Work of Christ and the Holy Spirit — are always happening. God is always on the move, even when thinks look hard, the light looks dim, and the Kingdom of God looks on the small side.

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