Earning the Right to Command

From The Days of Vengeance, by David Chilton.
Pages 510-512.


Jesus gave His disciples two promises regarding the Messianic era: that they would sit on thrones, and that they would judge. This is precisely what St. John shows us in this text. He tells of those who sit on the thrones of the Kingdom, and adds that judgment was given to them, paralleling his statement in 11:18 that the saints are “judged” or “vindicated”; further, however, there is the sense here that the privilege of judging (ruling) is given into the hands of the saints. Before Christ’s victory over Satan, the Church was judged and ruled over by the heathen nations, because Adam had abdicated his position of judgment and surrendered it to the Dragon. But now the Son of Man, the Second Adam, has ascended to the Throne as ruler of the kings of the earth, and His people have ascended to rule with Him (Eph. 2:6). Definitively-and increasingly as the age progresses – judgment is given to God’s people.[1] The Dominion Mandate of Genesis 1:26-28 (cf. Ps. 8; Heb. 2) will be fulfilled through the triumph of the Gospel; as the Gospel progresses, so does the dominion of the saints. The two go together. In His Great Com- mission (Matt. 28:18-20), Jesus commanded us to teach and disciple the nations, and as the earth is gradually discipled to the commands of God’s Word, the boundaries of the Kingdom will expand. Eventually, through evangelism, the reign of Christians will become so extensive that “the earth will be full of the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9). Edenic blessings will abound across the world as God’s law is increasingly obeyed by the converted nations (Lev. 26:3-13; Deut. 28:1-14).[2]

It must be stressed, however, that the road to Christian dominion does not lie primarily through political action. While the political sphere, like every other aspect of life, is a valid and necessary area for Christian activity and eventual dominance, we must shun the perennial temptation to grasp for political power. Dominion in civil government cannot be obtained before we have attained maturity in wisdom – the result of generations of Christian self-government. As we learn to apply God’s Word to practical situations in our personal lives, our homes, our schools, and our businesses; as Christian churches exercise Biblical judgment over their own officers and members, respecting and enforcing the discipline of other churches; then Christians will be able to be trusted with greater responsibilities. Those who are faithful in a few things will be put in charge of many things (Matt. 25:21, 23), but “from everyone who has been given much shall much be required” (Luke 12:48; cf. Luke 16:10-12; 19:17). One of the distinguishing marks of heretical movements throughout Church history has been the attempt to grab the robe of political power before it has been bestowed.

This whole issue has been thoughtfully explored in an excellent essay by James Jordan, and the best service I can provide the interested reader at this point is simply to refer him to it.[3] Jordan concludes his study with these words: “When we are ready, God will give the robe to us. That He has not done so proves that we are not ready. Asserting our readiness will not fool Him. Let us pray that He does not crush us by giving us such authority before we are ready for it. Let us plan for our great-grandchildren to be ready for it. Let us go about our business, acquiring wisdom in family, church, state, and business, and avoiding confrontations with the powers that be…. For as sure as Christ is risen from the grave and is ascended to regal glory on high, so sure it is that His saints will inherit the kingdom and rule in His name, when the time is right.”[4] When the time is right.


[1] See two essays by Gary North: “Witnesses and Judges,” Biblical Economics Today, Vol. VI, No.5 (Aug./Sept. 1983); “Christ’s Mind and Economic Reconstruction,” Biblical Economics Today, Vol. VII, No. 1 (Dec./Jan. 1984). These are available for a donation to the Institute for Christian Economics, P.O. Box 8000, Tyler, TX 75711.

[2] lain Murray has shown in The Puritan Hope: Studies in Revival and the Interpretation of Prophecy (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1971) how this view of worldwide conversion has provided a basic inspiration for missionary activity throughout the history of the Church, particularly since the Protestant Reformation.

[3] James B. Jordan, “Rebellion, Tyranny, and Dominion in the Book of Genesis,” in Gary North, ed., Tactics o f Christian Resistance, Christianity and Civilization No. 3 (Tyler, TX: Geneva Ministries, 1983), pp. 38-80.

[4] Ibid., p. 74. In this connection, Jordan’s remarks on the so-called “patriotic” tax-resistance movement are also worth repeating: “We must keep in mind that the pagan is primarily interested in power. This means that the maintenance of force (the draft) and the seizure of money (excessive taxation) are of absolute primary interest to him. If we think these are the most important things, then we will make them the point of resistance (becoming ‘tax patriots’ or some such thing). To think this way is to think like pagans. For the Christian, the primary things are righteousness (priestly guarding) and diligent work (kingly dominion). Generally speaking, the pagans don’t care how righteous we are, or how hard we work, so long as they get their tax money. This is why the Bible everywhere teaches to go along with oppressive taxation, and nowhere hints at the propriety of tax resistance” (p. 79).


Let’s take a look at that last paragraph in a bit more detail. Bolding the interesting bits:

This whole issue has been thoughtfully explored in an excellent essay by James Jordan, and the best service I can provide the interested reader at this point is simply to refer him to it.[3] Jordan concludes his study with these words: “When we are ready, God will give the robe to us. That He has not done so proves that we are not ready. Asserting our readiness will not fool Him. Let us pray that He does not crush us by giving us such authority before we are ready for it. Let us plan for our great-grandchildren to be ready for it. Let us go about our business, acquiring wisdom in family, church, state, and business, and avoiding confrontations with the powers that be…. For as sure as Christ is risen from the grave and is ascended to regal glory on high, so sure it is that His saints will inherit the kingdom and rule in His name, when the time is right.”[4]When the time is right.

As we go on about our business, we need to understand where we are falling short — what hidden (to our eyes!) sin is holding us back — and figuring out how we (or our children) are going to get where we should be.

1 thought on “Earning the Right to Command

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.