by Martin G. Collins
Despite this evil world being full of selfish, abusive leaders and sinful, miserable people, God has a well-organized plan for the eventual salvation of humanity. God sent His Son Jesus Christ with that specific purpose in mind, not to enter politics or to strive against the forces of evil in this world. The good news He brought is not merely about accepting Him and then, as part of this world, helping to make it better. It is about an entirely new way of life and a new governmental system headed by God the Father and Himself.
However, before He could even begin His ministry, like the first Adam, He had to face Satan in the greatest challenge in all eternity, a conflict for the rulership of the earth. He met and conquered Satan through His usage of the Word of God. While Satan quoted Scripture, perverting its meaning, Jesus quoted it and accepted its intended meaning. He withstood the Devil’s temptations, rejected his deceptions, refused to obey him, and conquered him by obeying God the Father. At His command, Satan slunk away, defeated.
In that moment, Jesus qualified to replace Satan as ruler over the earth, but it was not the time for Him to be inaugurated into office (John 7:3-6). When Jesus returns to earth, He will take up rule over all humanity as King.
Comment: Jesus taught the good news of the coming Kingdom of God to anyone who could hear Him, and the world rejected it. He knew that most would not pay heed to His words, as this was part of God’s plan from the beginning: Only those whom the Father called would follow Christ (John 6:44) because He opens their minds to the truth.
Since the Garden of Eden, God has allowed Satan to deceive humanity. During this time, He has allowed people the freedom to choose to live from the work of good or suffer from the toil of sin. The first Adam failed to depose Satan, and every human has failed similarly ever since. God allows people to choose because it is necessary to accomplish His purpose.
Then, in keeping with the principle of “in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:17), in the seventh millennium, humanity will rest from sin, and those who have been converted will enter into God’s spiritual rest. At Christ’s return in all His power and glory, Satan will be chained, unable to deceive the world any longer. Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, will rule through His now-immortal saints, forming the world-ruling Kingdom of God. God’s benevolent government will replace every government on earth and its evil religions, economies, and society. Then, His future “political” policies will be established forever.
2. Did Jesus come to enter into earthly politics and make it a better world? John 18:36-37.
Comment: Pilate was concerned that Jesus was interfering in the politics of his day, but Jesus told him that, even though He was born to be King, His Kingdom was not of this world. Christ will establish His rule on earth as King of the world at the appointed time He returns.
While Jesus did preach to the world by warning it (Matthew 4:25; 5:1), He remained separate from its politics. His primary audience was His disciples, whom He taught God’s way of life. He called them out of this present, evil age—out of its customs, philosophies, and ways—to a life of separation from the world (II Corinthians 6:17). He told them, “Follow Me.”
He did not mean for Christians to leave the world physically. He knew they must live in it, but He taught that they should not be of it. In His final prayer, He requests, “I do not pray that you should take [My disciples] out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:15-16). Thus, Christ’s disciples live in this present world as if they were foreigners, guests of the nations where they reside, as ambassadors for Christ and His coming Kingdom.
When God calls a person to repentance and conversion, He summons them to forsake former allegiances and transfer all loyalty to Christ. As Paul writes in II Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
3. What was Jesus’ approach toward the world? Matthew 22:15-22.
Comment: Though people in the world heard what Jesus taught, marveling at it (Matthew 7:28-29), they did not believe what He said. Moreover, He intentionally taught principles in the form of parables so that they would not understand, but His disciples understood because He opened their minds (Matthew 13:10-17). His message, we can conclude, was not directed at the world at all.
When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar, He replies, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” He points out a clear distinction between God’s Kingdom and the nations of the world: They have authority here on earth now and should be obeyed, but they were given that authority by God (Romans 13:1). He, then, is the ultimate authority. Though Jesus paid taxes to them (Matthew 17:24-27), His first loyalty was to God. As He said, we should follow Him.