In these lessons you’ve learned there is a Kingdom of God; you’ve learned it will be on Earth; you’ve learned it begins when Christ returns. You’ve learned why we need it. You’ve learned who rules it. But the most basic question of all we’ve ignored completely! WHAT is the Kingdom of God?
We want more than the obvious answer, “a Kingdom which God rules”. We want to know WHAT that Kingdom will be like! How will it be run? What will the laws be like which govern it? Will people be innocent until proven guilty? Will there be prisons? Slavery? Capital punishment? Juvenile detention centers? Will there be safety stickers, license plates, plumbing inspections, fishing licenses? Or laws against drinking and driving, speed limits, the selling of raw milk? Health inspections, building permits, interest rates? Import taxes, border checkpoints, passports, etc.?
All of these questions, and thousands more, are answered in your Bible, believe it or not. Some are answered explicitly, some implicitly, and many more can be extrapolated. But you will learn how to answer them all in...
Lesson 25: The Kingdom Of God
In Lesson 9, you learned why we must have a millennium. You learned the saints will be ruling it, and you learned the devil will be bound. It might be a good idea to review the last half of that lesson before you proceed if you don’t clearly remember it, because I won’t waste time proving most of it again here.
You learned a lot more about the millennium in Lesson 11 when you studied about the Kingdom of God. But now it’s time to get down to the basics of what it will be like to live in that country. To begin with, you need to understand God’s legal system.
How many lawgivers are there in the universe? James 4:12. The Being who makes the laws is always the one who has the most power. Who is that? John 14:28. Is the Father also the judge? John 5:22, 27, 30. Who sits in the judgment seat? 2 Corinthians 5:10.
At the top of God’s system are two offices; a lawgiver, who makes the laws, and a judge, who applies them to specific circumstances. You see, the law is absolute. It accepts no excuses, allows for no mitigating circumstances. The wages of sin is death. Period. Whether you were ignorant, weak, or just plain stupid – none of those things matter. If you sin, the law requires your death to pay for that sin.
The law must be inflexible; otherwise the universe itself would come unhinged. If the law of gravity were not constant, planets would be smashing into each other all the time. The atoms that make up your cells would randomly explode. Laws must be absolute.
However, that would also mean the first time men sinned, regardless of why, they would die. Leaving no chance to learn a lesson or overcome and build character. That is why the office of a judge exists. The judge takes the absolute law and factors circumstance into the equation.
Take the case of Rahab who lied to save the life of the spies (Joshua 2:2-4). The law says “kill her!” But the Judge takes the law “thou shalt not lie”, and considers the lie was told to save someone’s life. Next he considers the ignorance of the person regarding the law of God. Then He considers the covenant this person was under – no covenant, old covenant, or new covenant – and with all that information, He then decides whether this person deserves punished or praised, and how much.
The Lawgiver cannot do that. If He did, in just a few short years the law would become so twisted and corrupted that it would be unrecognizable. The law MUST remain the same. But the judge cantemporarily “adjust” the penalty of that law to fit every varied circumstance, in order to make possible the fulfilling of God’s original intent for His laws.
To make it clearer, think of it this way: when you sin, you should die. But because of your ignorance, Jesus applies His grace to your sin. He also factors in your intent, your weaknesses, and your temptations (Hebrews 4:15). Then He takes this case to His Father for approval, to get the final say from the Lawgiver that this is indeed what He intended for the law to mean.
Any “honest” judge must first KNOW the law, the constitution which governs his land. He must always take his case before that constitution to see that his judgment agrees with the original intent of the constitution. He cannot change the constitution to fit his case – but he can read between the lines and modify the laws of that constitution to fit cases which were not specifically covered by the letter of the original law.
This is what you see Jesus doing in 1 John 2:1. Jesus judges our sins Himself – deciding what we did, why, and what punishment or praise we deserve. Then He takes this conclusion and argues the case before the Father, and when necessary, paying for our sins (even our sins of ignorance) with His own blood. This happens hundreds of thousands of times a day, every time someone whom Jesus is judging today sins.
KINGS AND PRIESTS
After the resurrection, we will assist Jesus in His office of judging the world. The exact layout of the government is not entirely clear, but we can establish some sense of the hierarchy:
What office will the twelve apostles hold? Matthew 19:28. What office will David hold? Ezekiel 37:24. Over whom will he be king? Verse 21. How long will he hold that office? Ezekiel 37:25. What job will Abraham have? Genesis 17:5. In case that wasn’t clear, read Genesis 18:17-19.
Abraham was going to become the father of MANY nations, and God knew Abraham would COMMAND his children well! All of those nations of whom Abraham was the father will be ruled by Abraham. Does this only include literal children? Galatians 3:7-9, 29, Romans 4:16.
After Jesus returns, everyone on Earth who obeys God becomes a child of Abraham. And all of Abraham’s children will be ruled by Abraham. Therefore, excepting rebellious nations who, by definition, rebel against the rule of God – all nations will be ruled by Abraham.
When you think about it, next to God and Jesus, Abraham is the most significant character in the entire Bible. The first 11 chapters of Genesis are before Abraham was born. After that, the entire Bible is about Abraham, the children of Abraham, and the promises God made to Abraham.
So in the Kingdom of God, the hierarchy is something like this... God is king over the universe; Jesus is judge; Abraham is king over the entire Earth, and David is king over Israel. The twelve apostles are judges over Israel. But what about those of us in the first resurrection?
Are the saints compared to heavenly bodies (stars, planets, etc)? Daniel 12:2-3. Will all saints be given the same jobs, the same authority? 1 Corinthians 15:35-44. What will our jobs be? Revelation 5:10. Will we have a given region or city to rule? Luke 19:19. Will how we manage our lives and responsibilities in this life determine our authority in the next? Luke 19:12-27 (particularly verses 17-19), Matthew 25:21.
There is more about this in the Bible, but we’ll discuss that another day. Now to review a bit from Lesson 9, will the priesthood of Levi return? Isaiah 66:21. Will the Levites be offering burnt offerings? Jeremiah 33:14-22. After God gathers Israel back together and builds a new temple, will there still be Levites? Ezekiel 44:10-16.
Will Jesus purify the sons of Levi so they can do this? Malachi 3:1-4. Will there be physical sacrifices in the Millennium? Zechariah 14:21. Will even the heathen Egyptians bring sacrifices to God “in that day” (something which has never happened)? Isaiah 19:21. Will ALL people bring sacrifices to God’s holy mountain (His future government)? Isaiah 56:7.
You’ve read that before, but it doesn’t hurt to review. So the spirits of just men made perfect will be kings and priests, ruling the Earth. Whether we will be visibly present for all to see, or merely work behind the scenes as God and the angels do now, is debatable. Regardless, the Earth will be ruled and managed properly for a thousand years, and ruled by the guidelines God gave Israel in the books of the law. And it is now time to dive into some of those laws and get a feel for what that world could be – will be – like.
If there is a single word to sum up the legal systems of the world today, it is injustice. The sheer number of laws and case precedent, coupled with the arbitrary whims of judges mean that “justice” is decided based on who you know, how much money you have, and what point the judge wants to make that day.
People who break into your house to steal can sue you if they injure themselves. And win! Victims of a crime usually pay a higher price than the criminals. And they are seldom recompensed for the damage done; in fact, they pay taxes to keep the prisoners in jail at a cost to society of over $30,000 per year per inmate.
So what will the world be like when Jesus returns? How will Abraham, David, the apostles, and the 144,000 enforce justice? We have already established that it will be done under Old Testament law. But how is that law administered? What are its prime tenets?
RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED
To begin with, what is required for an alleged criminal to be condemned? Deuteronomy 19:15. So that means a man is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. This is a radical departure from most of the world, where you are presumed guilty until proven innocent. Only the USA and certain other western nations approach justice in this way.
Do you have the right to face your accusers? Deuteronomy 17:7. The accusers are clearly witnesses, otherwise they have nothing to accuse. And these witnesses have to be first in line to administer the penalty. This puts a much greater burden on the witness to be CERTAIN that he is right. He can’t just make wild accusations and then go home, leaving the accused to be dealt with by the state.
The WITNESS must be sure enough of his ground to look the defendant in the eye and speak of his crimes. And must the witnesses agree on their testimony? Mark 14:55-59. In God’s system, the burden of proof is on the accusers – and a great burden is on those witnesses. Why? Deuteronomy 19:16-21.
If a man commits perjury that would cause a man to be executed, when his false witness is discovered the witness is executed instead. THAT is the proper penalty for perjury. If his testimony would cause an innocent man to lose an eye as punishment, then he loses an eye instead. If the testimony would involve a fine, or slavery, or anything else, the false witness pays the price he would have wrongly caused to happen to the accused.
And God specifically commands no pity for the false witness. It is one of the most grave responsibilities to testify against someone, and abusing that for any reason bears a heavy price. In modern courts, a perjurer might pay a small fine or do a few years in jail. In God’s system, he simply pays whatever price his testimony would have caused the accused to pay. How simple! How fair!
But what if the matter is too hard to decide; if it’s a “your word against his”, and it can’t be resolved by the local authorities? Deuteronomy 17:8-9. Notice that this matter goes before the Levites AND the judges. How binding is their decision? Verse 10. What if someone ignores their sentence – whatever that sentence is? Verse 12.
Why do you go before the priests AND the judge? Verses 11. What is the job of the priest? Malachi 2:7. And what does the judge do? Deuteronomy 16:18. So the priest shows what the law SAYS – taking the word from the lawgiver. And then the judge decides how it APPLIES to this situation.
Again it’s the difference between the lawgiver and the judge. One of the greatest evils about the American legal system is precedent law, or case law. Over two centuries ago, America was set up with three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial.
The executive makes day to day decisions about running the country – the chief executive is the president. The legislative makes new laws or abolishes old ones – congress. And the judicial applies those laws to individuals.
When there is any overlap between these branches of government, corruption becomes rampant and freedom disappears. Eventually, dictators and despots appear. The founding fathers of the USA wrote a constitution – a basic set of fundamental laws and guiding principles.
Later, on top of these laws congress added specific applications of these laws – known as the bill of rights. These guarantee freedom of speech, freedom from illegal search and seizure, the right to own weapons, etc. The authors of these laws intended for them to be immutable laws that would last as long as the nation did.
Unfortunately, case law provides a loophole around the immutability of that law and concentrates more and more of the power into the judicial branch of the government. Case law means that, instead of going back to the original law for their judgment every time, judges can look to earlier judges for their judgments. So rather than interpreting each new case in light of the original law – or requesting a new law from congress, if the old law is outdated – they interpret new cases in light of how old cases were decided by other judges.
What this causes over a period of a few hundred years is a great compounding of error. One slightly biased decision, one judge on an off day – or even one case that was the exception and needed an unusual judgment – in effect becomes law that all future judges rely on to determine right and wrong. If it were not for case law, America would not be hemorrhaging freedoms today. But each time a case is decided, the law drifts farther from the original constitution and closer to tyranny.
God’s way is not unlike the original system of government in the USA, except that the executive “King” branch and the legislative “Lawgiver” branch are combined into one entity – the Father. This is because in man’s governments, the people make the laws – democracy – while in God’s government, God makes the laws. And no special branch of lawgivers is necessary because God’s laws won’t change over time.
But the judicial branch remains separate, with Jesus as the head. And most importantly, God’s way does not permit case law. Each and every judgment is taken back to the fundamental principles of the Ten Commandments. This is the job of the judge – not to make the law, not to see what earlier judges have said, but to see how the law applies to this situation and what punishment, if any is appropriate.
The priest is the messenger of God. He works directly for the lawgiver, and he is only present at the trial to tell the court what the lawgiver teaches about this crime. He does not pass sentence or convict the individual – he is only there for reference about what the law SAYS. It is the job of the judge to apply it to this situation.
Thus the power is divided between the two of them, and neither can work without the other. That way ensures justice.
How is God’s sentencing carried out? Privately, or publicly? Deuteronomy 21:21. Who is responsible for carrying out the sentence? Leviticus 24:14-16. Allowing punishments to be carried out behind closed doors insulates people from witnessing the results of their testimony, and the judgments made based on them.
It’s relatively easy to say on the witness stand this person deserves to die. It’s relatively easy for the judge to sign an order condemning him to death, to have someone in some dark chamber somewhere turn a knob or press a button to execute someone. And it’s relatively easy for the executioner to do it, because “he’s just following orders”. In this way, it’s no one’s responsibility, and no one feels much blame for it.
But it’s another matter entirely to “let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head”, and have the hands of the witnesses “be first upon him to put him to death”. When you know that will be the result you will think about your testimony and your judgments very carefully before rendering them! And when you DO make a decision, it will be because you are absolutely certain it is the right thing to do.
Why does God do it this way? Let’s take the example of someone who worships other gods secretly in Deuteronomy 13:6-10. After commanding a public stoning, why does He say He did this? Verse 11. It is IMPORTANT that people SEE justice. So they, too, will FEAR to serve Baal. What is the beginning of wisdom? Psalms 111:10. How do men depart from evil? Proverbs 16:6.
When children see adulterers put to death, they will think long and hard before doing it themselves when they grow up. When murderers know that justice is swift and stern, there will be fewer murders. “Thus,” says God, “shall you put evil out from among you” (Deuteronomy 21:21, 22:21, etc).
Because of how this world deals with crimes, especially how the psuedo-Christian world feels about it, this subject deserves to be dealt with before we get into the specifics of God’s legal system. Is the death penalty Christian? Is it Biblical?
You already know there is a big difference between the OC and the NC. As has been mentioned many times, those under the NC have no right to execute anyone for their crimes because our own obedience is not yet full – therefore we have no right to cast that first stone to execute someone.
But what does Paul say – did he favor the death penalty? Romans 1:32. Notice Paul says the JUDGMENT OF GOD is that people who do such things – a long list of capital sins precedes, back up read verses 20-31 to see all of them – people who do those things are worthy OF DEATH. This is NEW TESTAMENT, PAUL, saying this. In Romans, no less, where so many people turn to DISMISS the laws of God!
How do so many people own Bibles and not know that such things are worthy of DEATH? In the same book, a verse which everyone knows but no one reads in this light, Paul says “the wages of sin is death”. How then, can Christians be opposed to the death penalty?
In the Old Testament, a huge list of sins carried the death penalty; including, but not limited to... adultery (Leviticus 20:10), rape involving betrothed or married women (Deuteronomy 22:23-27), all forms of homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13), or bestiality (Exodus 22:19), kidnapping (Exodus 21:16)...
All forms of witchcraft (Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20:27), Sabbath-breaking (Exodus 31:15), hitting or cursing your parents (Exodus 21:15, 17), murder (Leviticus 24:17), serving other gods (Deuteronomy 13:6-9), prophesying falsely in God’s name (Deuteronomy 18:20)... etc. In short, breaking any of the first seven commandments carried an automatic death penalty. The last three did not usually carry the death penalty, although there are exceptions. As always, the punishment was made to fit the crime.
At the risk of repeating myself, we do not have the right to execute these judgments today. But when God is running the Earth, these are the terms by which the Kingdom of God will be governed. As a King or Priest in the Kingdom of God, you will be on the front lines administering these laws and executing these judgments.
This is why it is NECESSARY that you understand the laws of God; how they work, when they apply, WHY they are so necessary to a nation’s happiness. Because after all, what were the laws of God intended to create? Deuteronomy 4:5-8.
When properly administered, these laws will create a nation that is a brilliant example of peace, prosperity, and happiness – and all nations will come seeking to learn how this was accomplished (Isaiah 2:3).
So now that we have the basics down, it’s time to study individual examples and learn how the law should be administered. This won’t be a comprehensive list of God’s judgments – that’s why you have your own Bible – but this will give enough samples to show you how God’s principles apply and how they would change the world.
Theft is an easy place to start. It’s clear, everyone agrees it’s bad, and it is administered horribly in our society. Today if someone steals from you; IF they get caught, you are unlikely to ever see a dime back. The prisoner, IF convicted, will spend a couple of years in jail – which your taxes will help pay for – and then be out, probably to commit future crimes. More than likely having learned new tricks from fellow criminals in prison who taught him better ways to steal.
How would God handle it? Exodus 22:1. So if someone steals an animal from you and kills or sells it, he has to pay it back four or five times over! But if the animal he stole is still alive and he still has it, how much does he have to repay? Verse 4. For all other thefts, what is the repayment? Verse 9.
Notice that in God’s system the victims are protected. They are recompensed for the wrong they suffered, paid back – with damages – for the hurt the thief did to them. But what if the thief has no money to pay the fine? Does he then go to prison? Verse 3.
If someone steals from you and can’t pay the price, they are sold into slavery to pay you back. The victim is protected no matter what. You are SAFE in God’s system of government from theft. When the thief is caught, you will get justice!
But that doesn’t mean the thief is treated unfairly. He sinned, he brought this upon himself and he must make restitution to his victims. That doesn’t mean God’s system is unmerciful. After working as a slave to pay back what he stole – probably learning new honest trades in the process – how long must this man remain a slave? Deuteronomy 15:12. And is the slave sent away penniless, left to beg or return to his thieving ways? Verses 13-14.
After serving his sentence, working for his masters to pay back his debt, he is sent away with food, money, and enough for a good start on life. Hopefully, rehabilitated! Rather than spending his sentence locked up with other prisoners complaining about how unfair life is, left with little to do in prison all day except talk about how not to get caught next time, this person has been a productive part of society the entire time! And has been associating with law-abiding hard-working people rather than hardened criminals!
But now let’s back up and build on this a bit more. What if, while someone is robbing you, you grab a knife and kill him. Have you committed murder? Exodus 22:2. But what if you are walking down the street the next day and catch him, struggle and kill him? Verse 3.
Stealing is not a death-penalty offense in the Bible. The wages of theft is not death. It is to repay double to those whom you have wronged. If you kill him while he is stealing from you, that is self-defense and justified under OClaw (not under NC law, for God commands us to “turn the other cheek”).
On the other hand, if you kill him in cold blood the next day it is murder. You would be exacting a penalty far greater than the law requires. There are many other laws about theft in the Bible, Exodus 22:1-15 is the largest collection of them. But you can do that research for yourself; this is just to show the principle of how God will govern the world to come.
The point is, when a shoplifter knows when he is caught he will have to repay double what he stole, he will think twice. When a cattle rustler knows he will have to repay five times over, the idea won’t be so tempting. When they know that if they can’t repay they will become slaves for six years, the world will have fewer thieves.
Wrongful death is responsible for many modern laws. Seat belts, safety stickers, gun control, reflectors on bicycles, drinking and driving, medical malpractice, OSHA, the 5,000 words of warning required on every ladder describing how to use it, every plastic bag saying “this is not a toy”, warning labels on buckets about children drowning in them. Disclaimers on literally everything you buy.
All of these are dealt with in a few simple principles of God’s government. All of these laws are un-necessary when God’s simple laws are enforced. That law is in Leviticus 24:17-22 and Exodus 21:23-25.
So let’s apply that to specific situations. Suppose you have a dog – let’s say a black lab. And one day your dog gets out and kills your neighbor. What punishment does God describe? Exodus 21:28. The dog is put down, and you are not to blame.
But now let’s say that same dog is known to be vicious, and has escaped in the past and attacked people and you did not make every effort to secure your fence or get rid of the dog. If the dog gets out and kills someone, what is God’s judgment? Verse 29.
If your dog was sweet all its life, then suddenly went insane, tore through your fence and killed someone, you’re not to blame. You had every reason to believe your dog was no threat to anyone. On the other hand, if you knew it was vicious and you were simply too lazy, proud, or stubborn to do anything about it – then if it kills someone, your life goes to pay for theirs.
When people know these laws will be enforced, when they know THEIR LIFE depends on the quality of the fence around their vicious dog, that fence will be well built or the dog will be shot. It simply won’t be worth the risk to keep such an animal around.
But what if it is a poor family and your dog killed their provider? Is the family forced to go hungry now? Will your death fill their bellies? Does God offer any alternative to vengeance? Verses 30-31. The key is protect the victims. They, through no fault of their own, lost someone. Money cannot replace them, but without them to earn a living, their family will continue to suffer probably for the rest of their lives. So God’s judgment is that you, who through your carelessness allowed this to happen, must pay ANY ransom the victims place on you. Good luck finding justice like that today!
All this is saying is that you are responsible for your actions. And for the actions of anything you own. If you raise pit bulls, knowing they are violent, you had better make sure they are thoroughly fenced in – because life goes for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The damage your animals do to others will be done to you.
Now supposing we both have cows. And suppose our bulls got in a fight and yours killed mine – who is to blame? Exodus 21:35. So in that case, we split the damages – selling both animals and splitting the proceeds. But if you know your bull is mean, and mine is not, and yours kills mine, you’re to blame. In that case, your live ox (which, being alive is worth more) goes to pay for my dead ox. Again, the victim is protected.
The specific instances don’t much matter here – that’s what the judge is for. What matters is that the victim is protected, and the person responsible pays the price. If you dig a hole and don’t fence it off and your neighbor’s cow falls in, you pay full price for the cow (verses 33-34). If you build a deck and don’t build a railing and someone falls off, the same rule applies – life for life, eye for eye (Deuteronomy 22:8).
DRINKING AND DRIVING
Much of what we just said applies here, but it’s an excellent case in point. Some people can drive perfectly well after drinking for hours, other people are unsafe on the road dead sober. But the government legislates how much drinking is allowed, in an attempt to make the roads safe for everyone. This is their job, but laws against drinking and driving are the wrong way to go about it.
Because ultimately, laws against Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Under the Influence (DUI), can’t stop there. Soon there are laws against having alcohol open in the vehicle – even if the driver isn’t drinking. Then laws about having alcohol in the vehicle at all. Laws about alcohol in the presence of a minor, laws about certain days and times of day when you can’t buy liquor, or towns and counties that outlaw it altogether. And of course, all those laws already exist – and many more invasive ones will come.
And ultimately, it doesn’t stop anything. At best, it slows it down. God’s way would stop it. And, as always, God’s way is simple! Instead of taking responsibility for sin AWAY from people by more and more laws, give responsibility BACK to them, FORCE it on them. Apply the fundamental laws of God’s system of justice – punish the guilty.
Leave the responsibility to “love your neighbor as yourself” where it belongs, with the individual.
Apply the fundamental laws of God’s system of justice, and crime would all but disappear from the land in a very short time.
If you apply “life for life, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” to drunk driving, it means that if someone goes out, gets drunk, drives home and crashes into your car killing your wife his life goes to pay for hers. Or if your arm is broken, his arm goes to pay for yours. If your life is ruined, so is his.
Is that harsh? Think about it. You had no choice in the matter. You were driving along, minding your own business. He CHOSE to get drunk. He then CHOSE to get behind the wheel. He then CHOSE to drive home. What happened to you was the result of a series of bad choices HE MADE, and God holds him RESPONSIBLE for those choices.
Why shouldn’t HE, as the only one responsible, pay a price at least equal to the price his poor choices cost you? Why should the price he pays for his sin be any less than the price you were forced to pay for his sin?
Now consider the comparison in this world; suppose a drunk driver killed your wife. Her life is ended, yours will never be the same again; he would probably serve a few years for involuntary manslaughter, maybe have his driver’s license revoked for awhile for DWI, then move on with his life; he would no doubt feel guilty from time to time, but more often than not he would drink and drive again, later to rob some other family of a loved one. Is that way REALLY more fair, more loving, than making him pay for his crime?
Most of us have seen this system in action; this is not justice. It pities the guilty and ignores the innocent. But God’s way promotes TRUE FREEDOM. EVERYONE is free to drink all they want. But if they hurt someone while drunk... life for life, eye for eye.
This empties the jails and greatly diminishes the size and scope of the police forces and the tax burden they impose. It seriously discourages repeat offenders. Most important of all, it teaches personal responsibility – TRUE GODLY CHARACTER – it teaches people to reign in their impulses and restrain themselves. And when they do that, society won’t need to do it for them.
When you KNOW that drinking and driving might very well cost you your LIFE... you’ll think very carefully before you ever start to drink. And even drunk, the knowledge will be in your mind when you get behind the wheel. And if you’ve seen people executed for taking the risk you’re about to take... drinking and driving fatalities will go from happening once every 48 minutes, to once every few decades.
The most important rule of Godly love is love the innocent more than the sinner. The lives of the people who are wronged by sins such as drunk driving are never the same. But in the name of “love”, today’s system of “justice” often gives the sinner a mere slap on the wrist compared to the suffering their sin caused the innocent. True love, and true justice, puts the innocent before the guilty.
AVENGER OF BLOOD AND CITIES OF REFUGE
We have spoken of murder and manslaughter already, but we left out a very important detail. God’s rule “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and life for life” still applies, no matter what the circumstances – whether it was premeditated murder, drunk driving, or you were swinging an ax and the head came off and killed someone by mistake. Life for life. But we ignored a major part of God’s justice system for accidental homicide – manslaughter.
There clearly is a difference between murder and manslaughter. Murder is not an accident. An errant ax-head is. God provides a way around execution for accidental death. God’s law requires payment for both acts, but since the second was clearly an accident the slayer is not without recourse.
First though, let’s be clear – if he had taken better care of his tools, the ax-head wouldn’t have been loose. If someone else had been in the woods that day instead of him, the man wouldn’t be dead. So ultimately, he is still to blame even though it was an accident – ultimately, the rule in Genesis 9:5-6 applies. But still, there is a clear difference between a loose ax-head and murdering someone because you didn’t like his haircut.
Start by reading Deuteronomy 19:1-7. Here God commands Israel set up “cities of refuge”, equally spaced in Israel, so “slayers” can flee there. A slayer is the word the Bible uses for people who accidentally kill someone. Car accidents, hunting accidents, work accidents, that sort of thing. Anything that kills someone whom they had no motive for killing.
But verse 6 also mentions an “avenger of blood”, whom we’ll come back to in a moment; and also says this man was not worthy of death “because he hated him not in the past”. Murder carries the automatic death penalty from the state, as you already read.
However, unintentional murder – manslaughter – carries no state death penalty. If you didn’t mean to kill someone, God’s government – the state – can overlook your sin and does not lay the death penalty upon you. HOWEVER, whether you meant to kill him or not, that man is dead because of you. Your action took away their loved one, and God’s law protects the victims and allows their family to lay the death penalty upon you.
Rather than let this man go free, leaving the victims no recourse, God allows the victims to exact vengeance from the man who slayed their relative! BUT! Rather than leave the slayer no hope, God sets up these cities of refuge where the slayer is safe from retribution. What happens there? Deuteronomy 19:9-13.
Now read the other version of the command in Numbers 35:9-15. When you arrive in the city of refuge, is there a trial to determine whether you are a murderer or a manslaughter-er (slayer)? Verse 12. What happens if you are found guilty of murder? Verses 16-20. And who shall kill him? Verse 21.
If you are indeed a murderer, then you are sent back to your own town to face the punishment for your crimes there (Deuteronomy 19:11-12), unless the avenger of blood – a close relative – finds you and kills you first.
But what happens if you are found innocent, guilty only of owning a poorly maintained ax? Numbers 35:22-25. And what if the slayer ventures outside the city of refuge before the death of the high priest? Verses 26-27. And after the high priest dies, then what? Verse 28. Can a murderer or slayer try to buy off the victims? Verses 30-34 (BBE does a great job with these verses).
The person guilty of manslaughter caused innocent blood to be shed – it was unintentional, to be sure, but if that person hadn’t been there, there would have been no death that day. So to make God’s books balance, that man can be killed by the avenger of blood unless he gets to the nearest city of refuge immediately.
Now the avenger of blood may not wish to take vengeance. It is his right to do so, but not his obligation. God considers this man innocent, but the victims have the right to exact his life if they wish. Bottom line, as BBE translates Numbers 35:33 “there is no way of making the land free from the blood which has come on it, but only by the death of him who was the cause of it.” – and it should be mentioned there is no hint of an insanity plea in the Bible.
Movies like “The Patriot”, “Payback”, “Rambo” and “Gladiator”, and many others like them, are popular because we – men in particular – desire justice. Men like the Old Testament “eye for an eye” righteousness and yearn to see it done. Yet today, victims have no recourse. No way of “making the land free from the blood which has come upon it”.
God’s way changes all that, and while at first it seems shocking and harsh... the end result is a people who, of their own free will, choose to protect their neighbors’ welfare as if it were their own.
If you sell a defective ladder and someone falls off on a rock and looses a tooth... so do you. This will make you very careful in your testing process, to ensure that your ladders are SAFE. You won’t need OSHA looking over your shoulder. You will take responsibility for your own quality, knowing the responsibility for any fault in your equipment will rest solely on your shoulders.
You’ll be VERY sure your ladders are reliable and thoroughly tested before they leave your factory, knowing that if you build a defective ladder and someone hurts himself, that’s your fault. But on the other hand, people who use the ladder will also be held responsible for their sins.
If you build a good quality ladder and some fool abuses it, using it for something you never intended, and hurts himself... that’s his own fault. There need be no special warnings about every conceivable abuse printed all over the ladder. A righteous judge makes the sinner responsible for the sin.
So you decide – who is the sinner? The person who used the ladder as a make-shift diving board and hurt himself... or the person who made a good ladder, but didn’t think to warn people not to use it for water sports?
Again, it all comes down to two things; find the person responsible, and have them pay the victim for the loss they suffered. If your animal gets out and eats your neighbor’s pasture, or if it breaks out of the fence and destroys someone’s vegetable garden, what happens? Exodus 22:5. Out of the BEST of your own you will pay them back.
If you borrow something from your friend and it breaks, should you replace it? Exodus 22:14. What if your friend was there helping you with his tools when one broke? Verse 15. What if you rented it? (Same verse).
A similar concept is burn bans. Today we do not have the freedom to decide when it is safe to burn and when it isn’t. The local government decides when it is too dry to have outdoor fires, and if we do it anyway we will be fined. It doesn’t matter if our area got rain and the rest of the county didn’t. It doesn’t matter if we live in a swamp, or have our own fire truck, if the county pronounces it unsafe to burn; we are required to follow that. We don’t have the freedom to decide when it is safe to burn.
But God makes no such blanket rules. When everyone knows the guilty will repay the victim, there is no need for such rules. For example, if a fire consumes a half-dozen houses in a neighborhood, who is responsible? Exodus 22:6.
This means people will be VERY careful when and how they start a fire. There will be no need for city or county “burn bans”. If it is unsafe to burn, people won’t burn, knowing that to do so could bankrupt them if the fire gets out of hand. On the other hand, if it is “burn ban weather” and someone wants to have a fire and take appropriate safety precautions, that is his right.
And if he misjudges the situation and he can’t control the fire, he will pay for all damage. If he can’t pay, he will be sold as a slave to pay for the damage. But it is important that he has the FREEDOM to choose whether it is safe to burn or not. That is the only way anyone will ever learn true, godly character and become anything more than an atomaton whose will and actions are dictated by the state! But while he is learning that, it is important for his neighbors to know that if he makes a mistake, they are protected no matter what. God’s way ensures both.
Before we move on, let’s mention slavery here. Is it wrong? Aren’t “all men created equal”? Yes, they are! Read Acts 17:26. Slavery by race is a sin. However, slavery as a punishment for a sin you can’t repay is an excellent system of justice. So let’s look at what God says about slavery.
First, the Bible makes little difference between the word “slave” and “servant”. There are servants who are bought with money (what we call slaves) and servants who are hired – what we call servants today. You can see the distinction in who may eat the Passover in Exodus 12:44-45. Servants bought with money are considered property, thus treated as part of your household – sometimes even made heirs of your estate (Genesis 15:2-3).
God has specific rules involving the purchase, sale, and treatment of slaves. Along with a way out of slavery in most cases. First, read the basics of slavery in Exodus 21:1-6. No Israelite could be a slave longer than six years, and the seventh he was to go free – this would usually be in cases where he couldn’t repay theft or other damages or debts.
However, he could voluntarily choose to remain a servant, if he liked his life there – which shows that slavery in God’s system can’t have been too unpleasant, if some would choose to remain that way forever.
God also has specific rules about how you acquire slaves – see Exodus 21:16. Even slaves are protected in God’s system – a detailed list of slave treatment is in verses 20-21, 26-27. Slaves are expensive, which is another incentive to keep them well cared for. In verse 32, God puts an average value at 30 shekels of silver – which as you probably noticed, and not coincidentally, is the same price Judas received for betraying Jesus (Matthew 26:15). A substantial price, enough to buy a small piece of property (Matthew 27:3-10). Which makes sense, because you’re essentially buying six years of labor at once.
Another passage on slavery is Deuteronomy 15:12-18. A few general facts about servants are scattered around the Bible, such as Proverbs 17:2, 1 Corinthians 7:21-23, Colossians 3:22-4:1 – there are others, but I think that captures the general idea. As always, it boils down to “love your neighbor as yourself”, and treat your servant well, knowing that you were a servant in Egypt (OC) or that you are servants of God (NC).
Because bottom line, we were all slaves to sin – just as a thief who cannot repay is a slave to his master for six years. And we were bought from that slavery by God, bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), and so buying criminals with a price can’t be a sin.
It’s not done in today’s society of course, and we should be thankful of that because this society would have no such righteous laws protecting the slaves – but in a proper system, slavery has its place, primarily to replace prisons as a just punishment that also provides financial remuneration to the victims and rehabilitates the sinner – also doubling as a half-way house when his sentence is up, for he is sent away with clothes and food and money.
Finally, there is one last part to God’s protection for slaves and criminals. As you read earlier in Deuteronomy 15:12, Hebrew slaves go free after serving you for six years. This appears to be after any period of six years being released the seventh year, rather than being released on a specific year in a seven-year cycle. Otherwise, thieves could steal something just before the year of release, get caught, not be able to pay, and be slaves for one whole day – and then go free again. Which hardly seems fair to the victims, as God’s system always is. So it appears to be a period of six years, starting when they are sold as slaves.
However, there is also a specific cycle of years that involves the forgiveness of debts, which you can read in Deuteronomy 15:1-3, 9. Every seventh year in this cycle, all debts are forgiven – imagine a world where banks couldn’t hold mortgages on properties for generations! Imagine where the national debt couldn’t continue to grow every year for a century! The strangle-hold banks have on societies today could never have happened in the first place in God’s system.
And in that seventh year, the nation has a refresher course of the entire law of God read to them during the Feast of Tabernacles – see Deuteronomy 31:10-13. Also, in that same seventh year the land is not plowed or pruned or worked at all (Exodus 23:11). These are specific years in a cycle of years, called the land Sabbath in Leviticus 25 which, although it’s rather long (55 verses) you should read all the way through because it’s all about this subject. Here, I’ll call your attention to the high points.
The land Sabbath has many agricultural benefits which I won’t go into here, but it is obviously very important to God. So important, in fact, that if a nation doesn’t observe the land Sabbath, God sells the people into slavery and leaves the land empty until it “catches up” on its rest (Leviticus 26:43, 2 Chronicles 36:21). But not planting is an act of faith, which you can see in Leviticus 25:20-22, requiring you to trust God to provide for your needs for almost two whole years.
But these cycles are only part of a greater plan. In God’s world, land cannot be sold. You cannot lose your family home to the bank, or sell it, or lose it in a poker game. It is a heritage possession – verses 23-28. And if you do “sell” it to someone, it amounts to a 50-year lease at most, because of the Jubilee.
These land Sabbaths/years of release happen every seven years in a solid cycle, until 49 years have passed (verse 8). And in the 49th year, on the Day of Atonement, a “jubilee” is proclaimed and all slaves go free, all properties revert to their rightful owners, all debts are forgiven, and all the foolish mistakes of the former generation have been undone.
It is difficult to convey the differences this would make in a society, so I’ll leave it to your imagination. I will however point out, this is an exact pattern of the plan of the holy days – these seven weeks of years are the same as the seven Sabbaths you count between the Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost; and the Jubilee is the exact pattern of Pentecost, where all debts are forgiven, all sins are forgotten, and God dwells with Man.
I will also point out that we, as a species, were sold into slavery to sin by Adam; and for six thousand years we’ve been trying to be made free from slavery. Jesus came to free us from that slavery, but we won’t be released until we are resurrected at the return of Christ at the end of six thousand years from Creation!
Just as every seventh day we are all free from work and take our rest, and just as all slaves were set free from physical slavery every seventh year, we will be set free of spiritual slavery at the seventh millennium! Notice the three types of the Sabbath; the day, the year, and the thousand-year cycles!
I will also point out that all these disconnected laws, however odd they seem, all fit together to convey a better understanding of the law, the plan, and the nature of God. And if you think about it long enough, you might even understand what those seven Sabbaths in between the first resurrection and Pentecost represent...
God has a simple system of taxes. 10% of your yearly profit. The end. No massive tax books, no huge numbers of attorneys, C.P.A.s, computer programs, I.R.S. officials, none of that. Instead, a simple 10% of your net. When government is put in its proper place, not meddling with every brick you lay or every gallon of gas you buy, it requires very little money to run a government.
When criminals are dealt with swiftly and fairly, practically all of the modern “justice” system is abolished. Most tax officials are abolished. Most social workers, legislators, all lobbyists – are all out doing productive work, not living off of the taxpayer’s money.
Import taxes, duties, and so on are simply ways of paying one man more than another man for the same work. When a Chinese person is willing to do the same job, just as well as an American... why should the government charge you import taxes and duties to make it cost you the same price? Is his time worth so much less than yours? And is taxing you the solution?
When the world is managed righteously, you won’t need what amounts to a slave force in the Orient and Latin America working for $5 or less a day and living in huts just so you can have more gadgets and luxuries. In the world to come, all people will be judged by the same standard – righteousness. And their work will be judged by one standard – quality. Import taxes are simply a way of staying richer than other nations, by making it more expensive to buy things from poor countries.
Sales tax is unbiblical – the government has no right to a portion of sales. Inheritance tax is also sinful, as is social security. But property tax is downright evil – taxing people who have worked hard for generations and own a nice home, forcing them to pay the government simply because they worked harder and built something nicer than others... and then confiscating their home when they’re old and can’t pay the taxes any more... no tax is more Satanic in nature. There are no words to describe how villainous it is.
That’s why in God’s system, property can’t even be sold – much less confiscated by the government for back taxes. Today, true NC Christians pay these taxes because it isn’t our place to change them, and God has promised to provide – but the taxes themselves are evil, excepting income tax which today is vastly higher than it ought to be. All of which is because the government is bloated beyond control.
LESS LAWS, MORE JUSTICE
Cicero warned us that the more laws a county has, the less justice there will be. And while that’s not scripture, it is confirmed by scripture in Proverbs 10:19. See, the more words you use – whether in speech, or in laws – the more likely you are to be misunderstood. And for a carnal person desiring their own way, the more words there are the more loopholes can be found to deliberately misinterpret the law!
The letter of the law becomes more ambiguous and easier to twist the more words you use. This is why God boils His law down to the barest essentials in Matthew 22:36-39. God says there are two laws – first, to love God, and then to love your neighbor. And if somehow those two principles ever conflict, the first one is most important. And then in verse 40 He says that every law in the Bible; every suggestion; every word from every prophet; all boils down to these two laws.
Killing, stealing, lying, adultery, covetousness – these all are summed up in the single phrase “love your neighbor as yourself”. But it goes deeper than that, for each of those laws can be broken up into many sub-laws.
For example, all commandments concerning adultery, homosexuality, beastiality, fornication, divorce and marriage are all logical, inevitable outgrowths of a full understanding of the seventh commandment. If you truly understand that commandment, all those sub-commandments do not need to be said.
But it keeps going, for even those sub-commandments, can be divided into sub-sub-commandments. For example, the commandment about marriage in Genesis 2:24 which Jesus referenced in Matthew 19:3-6 contains many sub-commandments – such as what happens when the husband dies leaving the wife childless, when you must, can’t, or merely should marry, and laws about divorce and separation.
All of those commands are logical, inescapable outgrowths of the second great commandment – “love thy neighbor as thyself”. And as such they are all unnecessary if you truly understand that command. And you will understand it – if you want to understand it (Psalms 1:1-2).
But because people are carnal and didn’t want to understand the clear meaning of the law, God had to explain it further because the fewer words there are, the less sin is explicitly forbidden. For example, there is no command “thou shalt not burn down thy neighbor’s house”. Obviously, this is implied by “thou shalt not steal”, but not specifically stated.
Therefore carnal people can burn down someone’s house and not break the letter of the law. So God had to explain the most basic commandment by making sub-laws. First the Ten Commandments, then subdividing them again into the statutes, judgments, and ordinances; then that wasn’t enough, so He appointed judges and kings to explain them further and apply them to individual circumstances for carnal people. But the more He did that, the easier it became to misinterpret it.
For example, God commands everyone to pay tithes. But He also said, “You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 23:18). Therefore, if you don’t want to pay tithes, go into business as a pimp or breed dogs! Neither has to pay tithes, because you can’t bring money made from prostitution or selling dogs into God’s house!
Of course, that isn’t quite what the verse says (read the context, which is talking about vows, not tithes). But that’s exactly the point – the more specific commands like this there are, the more room there is for deliberate misunderstanding, opportunities to take parts of verses and pit them against each other to allow you to slip through the cracks in God’s law.
And that is why God’s law always focuses back on the two great commandments. Each sub-law was kept in its place, treated as the example that it is, not as a case-law to develop a precedent to exploit later. And so every case, every judgment must inevitably lead us back to those two laws.
In this way, we can deal with carnal people by having specific examples, but also keep the law simple by knowing exactly the principle that is meant to be expressed by “thou shalt build a railing around your deck” (Deuteronomy 22:8 closely paraphrased in modern terms). It is simply an automatic outgrowth of “thou shalt not kill”, which itself is an outgrowth of “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
There are two fundamental ways of ruling people. You can prevent sin, or punish the sinner. Every law you see in the world today is built around the first idea; preventing sin. Take gun control for example. No gun has ever killed a person. A gun is a thing – without volition, without emotion – it is just a thing. It is neither good nor evil.
Guns CAN be used for evil. Some people do use them to rob and murder. And so, faced with two alternatives – punishing the guilty or preventing the sin – the governments of the world lean heavily towards trying to prevent the sin. This seems logical to them, because without guns, guns cannot be used for evil.
But what about those who hunt for their livelihood? What about those who use guns to defend their chickens from predators? What about guns used by the righteous for self-defense – permissible to an Old Covenant people?
A blanket rule that forbids all guns punishes the innocent majority along with the guilty few. And does gun control really work? Like most laws, it keeps the honest people honest, and the outlaws continue to carry guns. And even assuming that you could enforce gun control... would it really solve the problem? Would they not turn to knives to rob and murder?
And if they outlaw switchblades, criminals can use steak knives; if those are outlawed, they can use rocks and sharp sticks. Evil people will find methods to do evil. Laws which aim to take away their weapons cannot prevent it, and as you can see by watching tonight’s news, those laws haven’t prevented it.
But this is the world’s way. God’s way is different. God allows anyone to own guns. Machine guns, Uzis, AK-47s. But the sinner who hurts someone pays a stiff price. Eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. Everyone else is free to use any weapon any way they wish as long as it follows the royal law, “love your neighbor as yourself”. There are no permits, no cooling-off periods, no registrations. The guilty are punished, and the innocent are free.
If a person isn’t qualified to drive at 100 miles an hour, they won’t – knowing their life will go to pay for killing someone else. On the other hand, a race car driver is free to drive 200 miles an hour if he deems it safe – irresponsible people won’t do that twice.
There is no need for building permits and inspections of any kind; if a person is not qualified to build a house, knowing if the house injures someone they will pay the same price the innocent person paid, they won’t build the house. In this way, the innocent are always protected, and society knows true freedom – something fast disappearing in this world. Indeed, it is almost gone now.
All of society’s laws exist to protect the guilty from blame; to prevent him from sinning; to punish society for his sins. To love the sinner more than the one sinned-against. God’s way is simple. Punish the guilty. Protect the innocent. So different from Satan’s way – so much better.
And everyone is safe, knowing that “sentence against an evil work is executed speedily” (see Ecclesiastes 8:11). And that no murderer in God’s world is given a chance to be a repeat offender, or to escape from jail, or to kill other inmates and guards. There is no such thing as a career criminal in God’s society.
The government does not need to meddle in day-to-day affairs and make blanket rules regarding such trivial things as inspection stickers, burn bans, and health codes because when people are held responsible for their actions, they will never risk endangering someone’s life or health knowing to do so would endanger their own.
That is the only way carnal people can be forced to follow the rule “love thy neighbor as thyself” – because what they do to their neighbor will be done to them. When everyone understands that, everyone will love their neighbor.
These are the two fundamentally different ways of managing carnal people. One way, the state takes the responsibility for a person’s righteousness away from them; they spread the blame for a person’s sin across all of society, rather than settling it squarely on the shoulders of the guilty.
The other way, the state demands the person takes responsibility for their own actions. Pay for their own crimes. God’s way, the state expects people to control their carnal impulses and harshly punishes the guilty. “Thus,” says God, “shall you put evil out from among you”. The world’s way, the state attempts to make sin impossible, and always fails. So they try even harder, in the process removing even more freedoms from everyone in an attempt to prevent anyone from sinning.
But the real reason why this difference exists may shock you. The reason goes all the way back to the fall of Satan. Satan sinned. God held him responsible for his sin. Satan resents that. Read Job 4:18, where he complains that God accused HIM of folly. But Satan, master debater that he is, has developed an argument: his sin was really God’s fault!
God ALLOWED Satan to sin. God put Satan in a position where he COULD sin. And if sin had been so important to God, why not make sin IMPOSSIBLE? And yet God allowed the sin, and so Satan blames God. And God also allowed Adam to sin – not only that, but allowed Satan to TEMPT him to sin! If it had been so important to God that Adam not sin, He should have prevented it from happening! Or so reasons the devil and this world’s governments and people.
And so in this Earth, where the battle between Satan’s ideology and God’s ideology is waged, Satan’s governments always try to PREVENT sin – at the cost of individual freedom. Satan tries to take away guns, tries to lock up thieves, tries to tighten airport security and, ultimately has to have secret police spying on every act in every life to make sure that no sin happens – and still, he fails to prevent it.
Satan’s state wants to rule your impulses for you. His state wants to take away your freedom to sin, and bear the responsibility for your sin the way he feels God should bear the responsibility for his, Satan’s, sin.
God, on the other hand, gives people the FREEDOM to sin but punishes the sinner. God expects people to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS. To have the FREEDOM to sin, but to CHOOSE NOT TO SIN. He demands they learn to RULE THEIR OWN IMPULSES. God’s way allows freedom for EVERYONE, and only the sinner suffers for his sin.
In God’s system, the judge corrects people who have sinned. The priest/lawgiver teaches people that they should not sin. But no one ever PREVENTS anyone from sinning – if they did, it would destroy the purpose of creating righteous character that God has worked so hard to make possible.
There are those who say God’s way is harsh. That the God who wrote these laws is a monster. Well, these laws are harsh – to the sinner. They are very stern to those who won’t take personal responsibility. They are inflexibly opposed to those who are careless and negligent, those who bring suffering and unhappiness in the lives of others. But isn’t that what laws are supposed to be?
Ezekiel 18:29 (NKJV) Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?
Most people would tell you Jesus came to Earth to abolish the OT laws because they were too harsh. So read Hebrews 10:28-31. If you broke Moses’ law – the Old Covenant – you died without mercy if two witnesses confirmed it. WITHOUT MERCY! That’s the law the world feels is harsh. But what does God say next?
God says he who breaks the NEW Covenant, the covenant of Christ’s blood, is worthy of MUCH WORSE PUNISHMENT! God says the OT laws and punishments were NOT HARSH ENOUGH! And if you violate the NC, you are worthy of MUCH WORSE punishment than those who violated the OC! And that is why it goes on to say it is a FEARFUL THING to fall into the hands of the living God!
These laws are not harsh. Locking someone in prison for life without parole – that’s harsh to the criminal. Letting a drunk driver who killed someone’s wife and child go free after a few years – that’s harsh to the victims. Taking away the freedoms from the entire nation in order to avoid putting blame on a criminal few – that’s harsh to all of society.
God’s way of justice is swift, stern, and when necessary, merciless... but it has a very definite purpose: love. Love of the innocent first, but once they are cared for, love even of the worst sinner. And when God’s way is constantly, compassionately, and consistently administered by the spirits of just men made perfect, most crimes will disappear as everyone is habitually guided to love their neighbor as themselves.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF.
There are two great commandments; love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength... and love your neighbor as yourself. What you’re seeing in all of these commands is laws intended to REQUIRE you to love your neighbor as yourself. Laws designed to instill HABITS of caring for your neighbor. Every word in the Bible about human conduct leads back to that, as Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40).
When you know if your neighbor falls off your roof and breaks an arm, the law will require your arm to be broken, you learn immediately what happens to your neighbor happens to you. That in turn teaches you that his welfare is your welfare. And that ultimately instills in you the habit, if not the spirit, of “love your neighbor as yourself”.
Because any act of hatred to your neighbor – stealing, lying, coveting, etc. – is immediately turned back on you. Any harm you do to him, whether ignorantly or maliciously is automatically done to you. So harming him is literally harming yourself. Hating him is hating yourself. And, therefore, loving him is loving yourself – and that’s the best way to ensure good behavior (Ephesians 5:29).
This is not the ultimate goal of the law, but it is the point God seeks to teach carnal man in the millennium. It is the best that can be achieved with words on paper, with external works judged by physical laws. And it will be a magnificent world to live in.
But it won’t create spiritual conversion. It won’t teach people to love their neighbor in their hearts, only in their actions. Only a spiritual law, and a spiritual people, can learn that. And so these people with habits of righteousness will, in a few short years of the devil’s temptation, fall right back into the same old traps and seek a way around God’s law. Seek their own good without first seeking the good of their neighbor. And finally, to seek their own good at the expense of their neighbor.
That is why God holds the kings in that world to a different standard. What does the king have to do, in order to rule over the people? Deuteronomy 17:14-20. The kings and priests in the Kingdom of God will be the saints from this life. And what will we have done in this life? Psalms 37:28-31.
The saints are those who have chosen to write the laws of God on their hearts in this life. Who have studied the laws like you’re studying in this lesson, and seen that they are not a collection of random rules written by an overly-controlling, harsh ogre of a God; they are a list of signposts that cover every conceivable sin, and point the sinner back at every point to the fundamental principle of loving his neighbor as himself.
The laws of God are a package. And when you study them closely, they are a package that reveals the most glorious perfection. And they all point a single way – to the greatest commandment, love God – and to the second commandment, love your neighbor. You can legislate those commandments on people, and make them happy by doing so. You can force them to act like they love their neighbor and they will be certain that they truly DO love their neighbor.
Then at the end of the millennium, when centuries have passed without a murder and the observance of God’s law has made the deserts blossom with roses (Isaiah 35:1-10)... then the devil is loosed for a “little season” (Revelation 20:3), and immediately all these people who have been habitually loving their neighbor for centuries rush off after him to do battle against the saints. (Revelation 20:7-9).
And that will prove, once and for all, that God’s law is a perfect law; that when obeyed, it unerringly produces happiness, wealth, and even kindness. These events will prove that the fault lay, not with the law, but with the PEOPLE (Hebrews 8:8). And that the people will never be made in the image and likeness of God until their SPIRITS are changed; until their HEARTS are judged.
And that is why God will require a NEW COVENANT in the second resurrection, where the laws – these very same laws – are written on their hearts, instead of on their doorposts. Only then can true conversion take place. And that is why the kings who rule that Kingdom in the world to come will be those who have chosen the New Covenant – the saints.