Is the Kingdom of God Present? An Arise & Build Reading

Preamble: Love and Justice

I like it when rip-roaring Christian care about small people.

That shows that there is hope for them – the Christians – even now. The Holy Spirit has not abandoned them, not yet.

But when they just don’t care about the weak and the small? That’s when you know that the Holy Spirit has abandoned them.

That’s why I give an ear to Lamb’s Reign and Chalcedon. And why I have a soft spot for Joel McDurmon & Bojidar Marinov.

With Gary North, it’s different. It’s not so much his concern for the weak and the small that interests me, as much as his love of justice, Divine law, and truth. Integrity and justice is needed, just as much as love and compassion.

And just how are you supposed to love God if you don’t obey Him?

And how are you to obey Him, if you don’t know His laws, His ways, His work in history, His goals for the future of humanity and all of creation?

A Summary

I was hoping to give a great deal of listings on Arise & Build, but the material is dense and can’t be easily summarized. But I can summarize at lease one article!

Is the Kingdom Present?

When we encounter discussions of the Kingdom of God and the tsunami of abuse rampant in our era, we could be forgiven for thinking of that conjunction in terms of abusive Protestant pastors, abusive Roman Catholic priests, abusive cult leaders, abusive Christian parents, etc. In all these categories, it is noteworthy that believer and nonbeliever alike have come to perceive the visible church (however one defines it) as a particularly rich environment for every predatory behavior. The solutions usually offered as a defense against these enormities are tighter regulations, stiffer penalties, massive surveillance, and coercive measures all the way to outlawing religion altogether.

We tend not to be surprised at news stories about public school teacher unions opposing legislative bills that would make sex with students a crime, such as occurred in Rhode Island in April 2019.1 It would merely be evidence of teachers being treated as a protected class, so far as we might be concerned. Maybe these secular bureaucrats learned the practice of “passing the trash”2 (moving predators to other school districts to resume the abuse cycle) from practices within the big wide world of Christendom. These are all variations on the “circle the wagons” imperative to protect institutional reputations at the expense of the weak and vulnerable.

Is the Kingdom Present?, by Martin G. Selbrede

The “salvation by law” – with penalties structurally limited to enemies of the State, of course – is all we are going to get from Our Betters.

Christians are going to have to do better than that. That would be a big step up from what we (institutionally at least) are doing now, teaching the pagans new ways to spit in the face of God.

On Isaiah 42:3

Most Reconstructionists are more than familiar with the famous Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 42. And they will readily grant that the Messiah apparently deals very gently with the abused, the downtrodden, the victim of evil, as laid out in verse 3: “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” This is quoted in Matt. 12:20 as well, where Christ modifies the final clause to assert that the Messiah shall send forth justice unto victory. Those last words are clearly important, and it is understandable for us to emphasize them. They should be emphasized, especially in light of the next verse in Isaiah that He shall set justice in the earth, and the Gentiles shall wait for His law.

Is the Kingdom Present?, by Martin G. Selbrede

For the record:

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

Isaiah 42:3, King James Version


A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

Matthew 12:20, King James Version

An interesting shift there: not either-or, but both-and.

We – following in Christ’s footsteps – will need to judge, and ground our judgements in the truth. THAT is what leads to victory.

Not the guns, not the money, not favour from powerful men. Right decisions, grounded in truth, resulting in victory.

But that third clause about victory should not be emphasized at the expense of the two clauses that precede it that concern the bruised reed and smoking flax. There’s something about Christ’s choice of building materials here that should catch our attention, precisely because virtually any other king wouldn’t hesitate to break the bruised reed and quench the smoking flax. It’s too much trouble to deal with damaged goods—for anyone, that is, except the Lord Christ, who sees treasures in what men lightly esteem, and vice versa (Luke 16:15).

Is the Kingdom Present?, by Martin G. Selbrede

God’s people are not to be like the kings of the world.

Strength, law, and justice is certainly necessary: but to be truly reflective of Christ, love, mercy, and compassion are also expected.

The strong use the weak to expand their own power and standing and safety. True in the days of slavery and eugenics and concentration camps: true today, with the slicing off of little boy’s penises and the crushing of the skulls of unwanted children.

“You’re into adultery and divorce and abortion and homosexuality and trans-sexuality and bigamy and pederasty? So am I!”

“Not pederasty – that’s EVIL!”

“As of 2020. See you in a decade!”

We are not to use the poor to build our own wealth, or expand our own power, or as toys to demonstrate our status and authority.

God expects better of us.

Selbrede continues with a discussion on Isaiah 32:1-2:

Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.

And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

Isaiah 32:1-2, King James Version

While expanding on this, Selbrede quotes George Adam Smith as follows:

When Isaiah says with such simplicity a man, he means any man, he means the ideal for every man. Having in ver. 1 laid down the foundation for social life, he tells us in ver. 2 what the shelter and fountain force of society are to be. “Character and the capacity to discriminate character” indeed summarizes this prophecy … Isaiah’s words present us, first, with a philosophy of history, at the heart of which there is, secondly, a great gospel, and in the application of which there is, thirdly, a great ideal and duty for ourselves.

Where the desert touches a river-valley or oasis, the sand is in a continual state of drift from the wind, and it is this drift which is the real cause of the barrenness … plants often spring up through the sand, and there is sometimes promise of considerable fertility. It never lasts. Down comes the periodic drift, and life is stunted, or choked out. But set down a rock on the sand, and see the difference its presence makes. After a few showers, to the leeward side of it some blades will spring up; if you have patience, you will see in time a garden. How has the boulder produced this? Simply by arresting the drift.

… A great man serves his generation, serves the whole human race, by arresting the drift.7

George Adam Smith, quoted in Is the Kingdom Present? by Martin G. Selbrede

The very nature of the Kingdom of God is justice and mercy.

  • We are not to steal from the rich “cause that’s where the money is”.
  • We are not to steal from the poor “cause they are too weak to stop us.”

Few rich men are aware of their standing before God, as their wealth deceives them into the illusion of self-sufficiency. But the poor don’t have any money (or guns) to hide their nakedness behind, so it is natural that they will ask for more mercy and grace.

If they ask, give it to them.

They can’t pay you back: but God can.

And He will: certainly in the next life, and quite likely in this life as well!

Selbrede focuses on the requirement of strong Christians to protect and be gentle to the weak and wounded (be they Christians or not), to take them seriously, and to insure that they get justice and support.

This is not some side mission on the road to power and control and status in society. This is the very core of the Kingdom of God, the meaning of Divine Rule.

He is right.

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