Kingdom (Be)Come: Makeover or Replacement?
Maintaining Pure Identity inside Societal Turmoil
If there is anything the Lord cares more about than anything else in bringing forth His salvation, it is that those He has regenerated through His Son come to understand and own their sole identity in His Son apart from all other identities, and that they grow in the purity of that identity. Such growth requires divestment of all other identities over the course of sanctification throughout the remainder of mortal life.
Divesting oneself of all other identities involves an ongoing struggle against them. And it is a war to the death. Only one identity can finally prevail in the life of any man. And it will ultimately be one's first identity in Adam, or it will be His new identity in Christ. At every point in outworking new identity in Christ, this choice is being made. Purification of Christ-identity through death is the core theater of Christian discipleship.
Defining Personal Conversion
At the heart of battle between adamic and Christ identities is the issue of "replacement" versus "makeover." That issue is in turn fought over the meaning of the single word "conversion" or "convert." What does it mean to be "converted" to Christ? Does it mean that who we originally are in Adam is simply "made over," or does it mean that who we were in Adam has been "replaced" by a completely new man in Christ, a man of an entirely different, unprecedented, never before existent identity?
The entire confusion of spiritual battle in the believer, in the church, over the church and against the world centers upon the answer to this question. Is conversion a makeover or a replacement? The victory of spiritual truth in the world hinges on exposing this confusion for what it is and dispelling it with clarity of spirit perception.
The answer to the question of makeover versus replacement is found in the meaning of two other words: "new" and "death."
The Greek word for "new" is "kainos." The word kainos literally means "unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of." Thus, when the apostle speaks of a "new man" or a "new creation" in Christ, he is speaking of someone who was not before. He is speaking of one whose original identity has been replaced so as to become someone he never was before. Similarly, the "new" covenant, "new" wine and "new" wineskins, "new" tongues, "new" garment, "new" name, the "new" Jerusalem, the "new" heavens and earth—these all speak of something entirely brand new and unprecedented, not something made over.
In consort with the word "new" is the word "death." It needs no definition but speaks for itself. Death is the riddance of, separation from and ultimate annihilation of something or someone out of existence. Why does this matter to identity in Christ? It matters because Jesus and the apostles apply the word death to everything that pertains to our original identity in Adam.
Our forefathers apply death both to who we were in Adam, and to everything "old" associated with Adam. This includes the "old man" as spoken by Paul and to the "old covenant," which the writer of Hebrews describes as "vanishing away." By associating "death" with "old" relative to new covenant identity, the apostles remove all room for confusion over the meaning of "conversion" to Christ. They double seal the concept that Christian conversion is one that replaces identity in Adam, wherein the old is abolished. New identity in Christ is not a makeover of anything sourced in Adam.
And Now, Kingdom Conversion
What applies to the identity of the believer applies to the kingdom of God. The same confusion over the meaning of individual conversion to Christ exists at the macro level meaning of "conversion" of earthly kingdoms into "the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ." The source point of this confusion lodges in Revelation 11:15, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
Today's purveyors of adamic-makeover theology, eschatology and prophecy insist that the word "become" in Revelation 11:15 demonstrates that all the kingdoms of the world are to be converted by Christian influence into the kingdom of God. If Revelation 11:15 were the only verse discussing relationship of God's kingdom to world kingdoms, and if the word "become" (ginomai) meant only to transmutate, then the makeover prophets could easily stand on their belief. However, the Greek meaning of ginomai together with the complete context of both Revelation and Daniel deny any idea of transmutating conversion of earthly kingdoms into God's kingdom.
The word ginomai has wide latitude of meaning and application. In Revelation 11:15, the word literally means to "become by possession." That is, it means to be taken over by occupation. The immediate context before and after shows that this possession is a military one forged out of hostile conflict.
Firstly, cited as the result of the seventh trumpet, this declaration of earth’s heavenly takeover is identified three times in advance as a woe to be dreaded by earth’s kingdoms, not a welcomed transformative blessing (Rev. 8:13; 9:12; 11:14). Then, immediately following the declaration, the 24 elders respond thusly,
"We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty ...because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came ... to destroy those who destroy the earth."
In other words, this divine occupation is one of destructive force against earth's kingdoms, not some inside-out cultural "salting" conversion by intercession and persuasive influence.
The military possessive meaning of Rev. 11:15 is actually described by Daniel's vision:
7:11 "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time… 21 I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom....26 '[T]he court will sit for judgment, and [the horn’s] dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.'
Daniel 7:11-12, 22 and 26 explain the "becoming by possession" of Rev. 11:15. Nothing in the kingdoms of this world is being rehabilitated. They are all being replaced and ultimately liquidated, just as happens with personal identity in Christ against the “bestial” identity and its remaining nature within the individual believer. There is no difference between the individual and the corporate. There is no difference between the micro and the macro. Salvation of the individual man and establishment of the kingdom of God on earth are both accomplished by identity replacement through death.
Earth's kingdoms will not be converted in nature, because they cannot be. They are of an incompatible foreign life force altogether. Flesh cannot convert to Spirit. All earthly kingdoms are described as animals (including America, if that is how the "wings" of Dan. 7:4 are understood). The kingdom of God is not an animal, and animals are not convertible to immortal divinity.
The complete contexts of Revelation and Daniel as well as the Old Testament prophetic model of the military takeover of Canaan emphatically clarify that the world's kingdoms are slated for complete replacement through destruction based on irreconcilable enmity between Christ and Adam's lineage. Consider Revelation's description of the fate of earth's kingdoms:
16:17 ...[A]nd a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done." ...19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell....19:15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty....19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet....these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
And now we read Daniel's description of the same destructive replacement of all the world's kingdoms in the dream of Nebuchadnezzer:
2:31 "You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; ...34 "You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth....44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever."
For generations, the church has also drawn prophetic wisdom and inspiration from the annals of Israel's wilderness sojourn to the Promised Land. The conquering of Canaan gives us a third witness as to the nature of the world's "becoming" the kingdom of God. Canaan became the possession of Israel by destructive military takeover. Everything had to be torn down and rooted out, so polluted was it by human idolatry and perversion. God said to "make no treaty" with and "have no mercy" on the Canaanites, but to "utterly destroy" all that was theirs before attempting to plant themselves on the land.
Whatever laws or "constitutions" the Canaanites lived by, they were replaced. Whatever economic system they lived under, it was all replaced. None of it was preserved to be "restored" or "sanctified" or made over. This completely typifies how the kingdom of God finally takes over the kingdoms of this world to "become" the possession of the saints.
Maintaining Pure Identity and Kingdom Purpose amid Adamic Turmoil
The point of this article is to put into just a few paragraphs the large grid of both individual and corporate purpose facing the people of Christ in every land and generation as we move from old adamic identity to new identity in Christ, and carry out the necessary warfare unto the death in that progression. The Father's chief purpose is to obtain new identity in Christ and purify that identity throughout a formerly adamic people. That conversion and its outworking operate the same in both the individual convert and the corporate kingdom body.
God's corporate people are God's kingdom (I Pt. 2:9). As each has been converted from Adam to Christ by replacement, so we as a body have been converted from Adam's kingdom(s) and nation(s) to Christ's by replacement. God's kingdom people are no longer identified by the world's kingdoms and nations. Nor do we operate by the systems and principles of government and policy of those kingdoms. We are a holy people unto the Lord.
So saying, our burden is to reckon with the deception at the heart of our warfare in this world, both as individuals and as a corporate people in the earth. At every turn, we are being seduced to compromise our new identity with our old one. We are being seduced to redefine conversional replacement of Adam into conversional makeover of Adam.
We are being taught to christen our earthly works and enterprises as holy kingdom offerings to God and demonstrations to the world. We are being taught to befriend the world's kingdoms. We are being taught to sanctify our unsanctifiable national heritages, to waste intercession on “purifying” our natural bloodlines, to prophesy destiny to that which God has ordered to be destroyed and replaced with His life and wisdom from beyond.
This teaching applies to all believers in every nation, but I am writing at this particular time especially to my American brethren because of the intensifying stirring in divisions and perplexity over the placement of a single man’s rulership over the American kingdom. Know Who You Are and who you are not! Stop being seduced into the empty prophetic fray over such a man.
Do you really believe God's will is for your heart to be shaped and caught up into a battle over one man's placement in regard to this human kingdom--a kingdom destined to be replaced like all others? Did Daniel get worked up over the role of Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar or "Cyrus" or Darius? What is it to you what happens to this man?? Is he Jesus Christ to you? (How much attention you give him will tell if he is.)
This is the nature of the battle and of the constant seduction we face. As a holy people delivered from Adam's lineage and the kingdoms formed on that lineage, we have other purpose to be concerned with. It is to stay centered on the Lamb whom we follow to the death in all things, and to give no man the attention and adulation that is due only to the One who has recreated us with His identity unto a kainos kingdom of another world.
Don't let your hearing of this life's kingdom affairs derail you from the real purpose. And don’t let the prophets devoted to sanctifying earthly kingdom purposes do so either. Keep pressing in to the Lamb's successful takeover of your own life. Keep letting Adam die out of you. And run as much as it is possible with those of the corporate royal priesthood who know who they truly are in Christ alone, and who run your same course to the top of Mt. Zion. Stop getting sucked up into the "adamic-prophetic" American angst. This is nothing compared with what is to come. "This is Your Lord speaking!"
Chris AndersonFirst Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created January 20, 2020